I Got One Job
Bev Vines-Haines
Dorsal Winner
The rocking chair Grandma Elsie left me in her will has a squeak.  Could be a cry out from the grave, I suppose.  My situation would break her heart.  But the baby doesn’t care.  I sometimes rock her from sunup to sundown.  She can’t hear the squeak, they say. Nor see the blue skies out over the mountains or the relentless murder of crows that has taken up residence in our front yard. 

I never got out of the eighth grade.  But Hope will. I will see to that.  When I rock her I always pray.  “God, we got a big project.  We need some working eyes and ears here. I know I quit school and I confess I quit a lot of other stuff.  But I ain’t quitting on Hope.

“She can have it all someday. Her own room. Education. No one calling her names or hitting her with a spatula. I love this child, God.  Maybe I’m not old enough to go to work but that’s ok. I got one job.  Rocking Hope. And praying, of course. That’s all one and the same in my book.  I know you didn’t send her to this earth to stay blind.

"There’s all kinds of blind anyway.  My Mama was always lookin’ out the window or pulling weeds in the garden when Henry Jay had his way with me.  I told her.  You know I did.  But Henry Jay was her baby and she couldn’t bear to hear bad things about him. I think you know he’s bad though.  And I’m glad he went to jail. Seems Jane Miller’s Mama was payin’ more attention to her child.

“So back to Hope.  I have dreams for her. Henry Jay kicked me pretty hard when he found out she was coming.  But you can heal her.  I think she’s meant to do big things in this world.   

“Did you know I was thinking I might do big things too.  I heard they need child care workers at Mona’s Day Care.  I am good with kids.  Look at how I am with Hope.  She’s never had one diaper rash. And when I change her I always sing.  I know she can’t hear with her ears but I think she knows.

“I long to see her smile or even laugh.

“Sometimes I blow on her tummy when she gets her bath.  And I hear her laughing on the inside. That’s why I believe once she can hear my voice, she’ll let all those laughings out.

“Mona says she can’t hire anyone who hasn’t turned fifteen.  That is all right.

“Until then, I got one job.”

First published: May 2016
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