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The Difficult Way photo

In the park, a girl dragged her kite through the grass.

She wore a dress printed with orange flowers,

held the string gently. The boxy frame scraped the ground.

Her mother shook her head, said, I don’t know why

you have to do things the difficult way. Tonight, the air

is too hot to touch. Mom calls at nine, eleven her time.

She can’t sleep, asks me to tell her a story, the phone

briefly eliminating our distance. She interrupts

before I can finish. She lived here in her twenties,

keeps finding excuses not to visit. Maybe soon—

I have to paint the bathroom first. I open opposite windows,

make a little breeze, hold the tinny speaker up to my ear,

answering her questions I’ve answered before. Have you

thought about getting married? Have you been to see the redwoods?