for Liz on her forty-second birthday
About that little bonsai tree. Note its uneasy perch, how its roots just catch in the dry moss. It needs water every three or four days and wants light too, those weblike branches, the tiny leaves barely clinging. As the man who sold it said, “A living thing requires care,” and then showed us how he had twisted its trunk when it was young, since the point is not just to keep it stunted but to leave your mark. What amazes me is how it remains itself, essential in that pot. Can you imagine it free?