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The Lanyard

In: People

Submitted By poolchick
Words 315
Pages 2
The Lanyard
The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
Off the pale blue walls of this room,
Bouncing from typewriter to piano,
From bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
Where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
Could send one more suddenly into the past-
A past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
By a deep Adirondack lake
Learning how to braid thin plastic strips
Into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
Or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
But that did not keep me from crossing
Strand over strand again and again
Until I made a boxy
Red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life
And I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
Lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
Set cold face – cloths on my forehead,
And then led me into the airy light.

She taught me to walk and swim,
And I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
And here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
Which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
Strong legs, bones and teeth,
And two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
And here, I wish to say to her now,
Is a smaller gift- not the archaic truth

that you can never repay you mother, but the rueful admission that when she took the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as could be
That this useless, worthless thing I wove
Out of boredom would be enough to make us even.…...

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