Look Away and They're Gone

It is nearly ten o'clock, andfrom my chair I can hear pages turning crisply, slowly in another room.

Thinking I am the only one still awake, I walk the house until I find a canted box of light painting the hallway in front of my daughter's room.

I stand in the doorway with an elbow against the jamb, fist to my temple.

She's contorted in her bed, angling a book toward the lamp. One sweep of her finger reveals an ear.

She turns one page, then another. How long until she is just a snapshot on the fridge?