tonight and tomorrow

The other day, I had a conversation with a friend about the future.

I told him how for so long, I’ve labored under the delusion that perhaps the most selfless act of love to be performed for a child is preventing them from ever existing. This is a belief I’d arrived at after spending much time ruminating on climate change, the spread of fascism in America, and the impending sense of doom that pervades life at present.

I told him how I was at a restaurant recently. At the head of a nearby table sat a little girl in a high-chair, her eyes alive with the world around her. She gawked at the market lights overhead, fumbled with a spoon too large for her tiny hands, and shrieked with joy when her father lifted her from the chair and held her in his arms.

And I thought to myself in that moment, “Existing, even for the briefest of moments, is such a tremendous gift. Being, if only for a little while, is enough.”

In response, my friend read this poem by Laura Gilpin, titled “Two-Headed Calf”:

Tomorrow when the farm boys find this
freak of nature, they will wrap his body
in newspaper and carry him to the museum.

But tonight he is alive and in the north
field with his mother. It is a perfect
summer evening: the moon rising over
the orchard, the wind in the grass. And
as he stares into the sky, there are
twice as many stars as usual.

What a joy it is, to see those magnificent stars…