I do not believe in reincarnation

When Bayboh demands “pick me up” and the untidy end-of-day kitchen falls away into blurry periphery, he settles his weight around my hips, untroubled by any thought I might topple, even as I lean a little in unconscious counterbalance, tossing careless answers to his swarm of half-listened questions.

He catches my “when I was a baby” and his face squinches up in consternation around eyes locked onto mine, the intricate liquid colors of them beguiling in the too-close focus struggle where I see one iris crisply sharp while the other floats distractingly, jealous for attention.  “Isn’t it interesting you can only ever see one eye clearly at a time?” my dad said in early games of Don’t Blink (which I always won because children always do, plumped up as they are with water for a lifetime’s evaporation).

“You were a BABY?!”

“Yes, a long time ago!  Everybody was a baby once!”

“But then did I held YOU?”

He leans in a fraction of a breath, peering deep into the blackness at the center of my own miraculous eye, staring back at him.

But the spell shatters over us, broken by my laugh and I say “No, no, that was a long time ago, before you were born,” as the crusted dinner plates and smudgy lunchboxes come back into view and he asks, “But who DID holded you?”

Kissing his smooshy cheek I answer, “My parents held me, just like I hold you,” and set this voluble cherub’s feet down again on the unmopped floor.