she’s working in the field in Africa, out of Karonga, on Lake Malawi (her knee surgery is maybe only 60%, a dead girl’s ligament attached in there)

—texts, “6:30 AM, Sat., dressed, stretched and ready and ready for field day! off to make coffee and have breakfast then go pick up samosas for lunch, then drive to chilumba”

she took her first few steps and fell face first into a cardboard box which cut the piece of tissue connecting the upper lip to the gum —called the ‘frenulum’

I tossed her up on my shoulder in Red & Black bookstore and banged her head on the steel box of an overhead heater

hiking a creek that poured down from a lake through the rainforest I slipped on mossy rocks and fell flat on my back— still asleep on my chest, she did not awaken

I didn’t understand yet, I didn’t know about car seats yet so the first time I had to drive her somewhere the only place I found to put her was bundled up on the floor of the car

the first time I dropped her off at the daycare, they asked, “Don’t you want to put clothes on her?”—then I saw the other babies all had clothes on so I said sure, took her home and put her one of her little suits with the little shoes

once I dislocated her arm when I picked her up too abruptly by one arm (to change her diaper—we were laughing—she was laughing and running away)

the diapers went into a plastic bucket which I often took to the laundry room late at night—when the lid came off it released a powerful cloud of ammonia that stung my nostrils stronger than most anything I’ve smelled before or since, hot water full blast from the faucet filling the air with steam as I rinsed, washed and wrung, rinsed, washed and wrung

when she was teething she developed a kind of allergic reaction to her own teeth, developed a high fever every few hours for a couple weeks when her molars were coming in, once when my aunt and uncle (who are dead now) came to visit we took them to eat at a Chinese restaurant in the International District, and when the fever struck her, we lay her on the table with the dishes—we had ordered geoduck from the Hood Canal (gooey duck, the giant clam) with its intense clamminess

so much she taught me: last month in Yosemite hiking through the forest along the Tuolumne River, a beautiful beach I thought the main thing it lacked were children running on it, the beach smooth, without the footprints of children

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