but then nbc took it away from us

2

…Pulling this struggling little boy
So he’d stay just a minute more
With you.
—Vickie Johnstone, “Mother,” Travelling Light - Poetry


Mother

He watches her walk away, her step jaunty, her hair bouncing with every stride. His mind teems with all the words his mouth cannot utter.

“Mama, I had a daughter. Yes, you have a granddaughter. Her name is Iris. And when she smiles…Oh, when she smiles, sometimes I see you in the way her nose wrinkles.”

He wants to curl into a ball in her lap, the way he did when he was a boy. A ball so small that the world won’t see him. Rittenhouse won’t see him. 

Does she still smell faintly of cloves, the way he remembers? Her hands—he wants to hold them in his—hold them in blazing sunlight, to check whether they are still stained with ink and pencil as they used to be.

He wants. He wants…

But these are whimsical thoughts, and in Garcia Flynn’s world now, there is no room for whimsy. It’s a cold world. A dark world. A world he cannot share with anyone, least of all his mother.

“Mama, come back,” he cries. “Mama, they took her from me. Took them. Help me, Mama. Help me.”