My sister lifts her arms. Steve bends to lift her body. Her hands tremble as she slips them around his neck. I stand behind her, holding the wheelchair, but at the same time as I see her adult hands, I also see the hands of a little girl, my baby sister reaching up from the playpen to be lifted out. Those were the days before she could walk. These are the days afterwards. Those trusting hands, old and young, wring my heart. "Let's dance," come the ritual words as he positions her in place to sit down in the chair. Her legs have lost their relationship to space. Rag doll legs, twisting this way, that way. But they do know their way in music. I said that previously, but it amazes me again today. Then, too weak even for music, knees fail, "I'm falling!" And Steve, confident, tender..."I have you. You're not falling."
"What is happening?" she wants to know what no one knows. "What shall we do next?" And we don't know if we are talking about dinner or dying or determining a new treatment plan. Shall we embrace Buddhism where all of those are one illusion? The next step seems related to the next bit of data. What will the doctor say? The specialist? What the I Ching calls "The Great Man." We looked into the educated eyes of many great men and women and all of them have just a glint, a chip of meaning.
See if it fits anywhere.
Because these are the trackless places where the stones lie broken. The mountains have tumbled. The sea receded to the world's edge. The winds are the beaks of hawks. And the questions are whispers of locust wings.
Would you like a sip of water?
A cool cloth for your head?
May I wipe away that tear?