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The gift

You gave me to the world that day. Not the way one gives away what is old or worn or no longer prized. Not the way one offers your blue ribbon recipe with one vital ingredient denied. And not the way one gives from propriety, what your neighbors view as just and right. It was like the way you picked only the most perfect plum-blue irises from your garden and wrapped them in soaked tissue for a guest. The way you gave your whole listening over to someone's speaking, your eyes averted and still, the rocking chair creaking not at all.

It was more the way the very young or the very old can hold something in their hand - a shell, a toy, a white moth, an old photograph - and have the fingers not clutch or grasp but be at once holding on (the fingers slow and gentle) and letting go.

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That is how with a single word you gave me out to the world that day. You gave me truly to myself that day. And charged by your giving, my living someway changed by your assent - I carry my small gifts out to open hands, I lend myself to the task, and mention your name.

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