I carry my loss day after day, like any grown-up: on my shoulder, on my hip, shifting its weight from side to side, occasionally lifting it atop my head like a woman carrying goods to market, sometimes dragging it behind me by a frayed string. It’s a bulky package, loss, but all the grown-ups around me are staggering to balance their own awkward burdens. I wish someone had told me when I was young: “See those tall people with strained faces? Their hearts are heavy as hammers that have fallen hard from distant stars. That’s loss on their shoulders, in the space their arms shape, the hollow of their chests. They’re in mourning for their mothers, who were brisk and tall with clear voices. Let’s not even talk about fathers. The littlest things will remind them: candy dishes like their grandmothers’. Bitten-down lipsticks. Mateless earrings. Loss, my darling, a gray word, the color of a nickel, too small to buy anything with, too small to give or to save.” And if someone had told me all this — what would I have done? Gone on playing or pretending to play, the way children will, for the sake of the game, for the sake of having something to carry.