Marveling at children stringing seeds
for the birds, today, I thought of Farid.
Farid sat next to me in Accounting class.
And in Project Management,
we ran a fictitious company together,
(sounds like headline news, doesn’t it?)
The three of us:
Farid, the Lebanese, with prayer beads,
the girl with prosthetic leg and a crutch,
and me, shaky hands holding on to cheat sheets,
Every one of us grasping for our safety net.
During breaks, there was chatter about
kids, dogs, jobs, and stock market.
Farid sat with prayer beads, silent.
I asked him what he was doing.
Contemplating, he said.
Contemp… what?? I raised my eyebrows,
as broken as my broken English.
One needs silent time.
One needs to mull things over, he clarified.
Farid reminded me of my grandmother
who would slice out nice fat chunk
between the day and the night
to sit on the sunk edge of her bed,
her bare feet planted on the rag rug solidly.
She whispered nightly prayers,
rosary beads, slipping through her fingers
like dew drops: drip, drip drip,
the sound that put me to sleep.
Her rosary was my first abacus.
I never did master the math of Hail Marys
and Our Fathers on grandma’s worn rosary beads,
and then completely failed inflation,
return on investment, and supply and demand.
But we hang the seed beads for the birds today
on the snow-dusted crab apple trees,
and suddenly it becomes possible
to feed what is here in infinite supplies.