Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Sitting at her brother’s drawing board,
pale wood, color of her skin,
she said she was drawing . . . conclusions.
The way she said it she knew they would laugh,
and they picked her up for ice cream.

Later she remembered that,
and later, after forgetting it,
she remembered again.
There was something about the room that day
she remembered:

the dining room,
how it was full of people,
although the people were in the living room,
and there were only three,
he and their father and mother.

Full of people,
and often later the world had been empty,
though full of people as an airplane,
a fat jumbo jet bound for Las Vegas.
It must have been full of something else,

the dining room that day,
the unweighty obligation
to protect one another,
also love and humor,
and, over all, the bright, silent chandelier.

Charles Vandersee