A wizened old woman holding a cardboard sign, ‘104 years old trying to get a million likes’; a bombed out city I can’t pronounce, body pieces, need your help; a disfigured child, share and pray for me. I’m derailed.

I had this job one summer.


Please take this butter to my sister they don’t keep cows. The crock of butter sits on the floor of the van. In an hour I will hand it to Ruth and say this if from Sarah.

I pick up baked goods, meat, eggs, vegetables from the Mennonites for Harry. Harry drives to Toronto and sells everything off the truck in a couple of hours.

Sarah has a gaggle of children, her clothesline is full and flapping. A sewing machine sits in the south window of the kitchen. She swats flies off her baking, wraps it in plastic and I pack it in a box. The children have dirty strong feet, even Sarah is bare foot. Chickens scatter when I walk to the van. Sarah’s garden is the size of a city lot. Straight rows of vegetables beside riots of zinnias, dahlias, sunflowers, delicate mauve and pink larkspur. A hundred acres in a river valley is Sarah’s world. She hasn’t seen Ruth in two years. Sarah gives me a recipe with the butter. She smiles, tells me Ruth hates to bake, hands me Larkspur tied with string. I see Sarah squint into the sun waving me off, her little flock milling around.


I shut down Facebook, clear my files. No more assaulting images, lost time ‘liking’ people and things I shouldn’t know.

I go outside with bare feet and pin my laundry in the wind. The flowers I’ve nurtured blooming around me. This intimacy enough. My world needs sheltering.



xo LA


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