The Potomac - Poetry and Politics - Eric Goodman
May 2008 - THE POTOMAC

Small Places
   Eric Goodman

He stretches—but only for a moment—and then pulls back into his comfortable arch.  He rests in an embryonic embrace of himself, content within his well-fitted place.

Mom thinks the house is too big.  The apartment was smaller, more crowded.  More cramped, but more comfortable.  There was less space to stray, less room in the tiny apartment to fill with bitterness. The house they are in now, like the world around it, is too spacious to be comfortable. But Grandma is gone and the paid-off house is more affordable than the rising rent, despite the compounded interest of bittersweet memories within it.

He can feel what Mom feels.  He knows her thoughts; they are in his blood, as though he’s a part of her.  He is a part of her, after all.  And he agrees with her.

Not about everything.  Not about smoking or drinking or abortion or birth control.  But he agrees with her about ice cream and pickles, about buttermilk and cookies, about sleep and soft music.  He agrees that the house is too big.  He hasn’t seen it with his own eyes, but he feels her uneasiness within it and knows she would be better off in a smaller place.

He floats in fluid, content in his sack.  He is at the start of life, not even in his own life yet. But he is wise, wise enough to know that he needs nothing more than the little bit he has to be happy.  His own knowledge is something forgotten by people after they’re born and grown, reared in big, open spaces.  He doesn’t want a bigger place. Great comfort rests in small spaces. 

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