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“Bundling Up” by Lara Niedermeyer

I give allowance for the deer with the bad leg; I wait in stillness as it crosses my path

impatience stalled—it needs a bit more time and I am hurried, but rich enough to share this.

The mother with baby and toddler block the aisle: she checks her list, picks up dropped toys,

makes promises in exchange for acceptable behavior when we get home. My own list is

so long, but I recall those days. The effort of keeping your cool, the prickling heat of being

judged—and I can be old and kind. Tell her she’s doing fine, tell her they are beautiful.

I will not take exception to the grandmother who drives slow, the friend who has forgotten to call.

My husband’s socks on the floor (again), the child who never remembers to sweep.

If I neglect the core of who am I—that eternal ember that spins my weathered-straw heart into

shining galaxies—and turn curmudgeon, who is left to warm me when my imperfections glare?

There are no more days for me to spend on being small of heart, miserly with energy, unwilling

to heal. When I send a draft of chilled humanity outward these days, I notice the cold.

This piece was published in 2024 as part of the 13th Annual Mormon Lit Blitz by the Mormon Lit Lab. Sign up for our newsletter for future updates.

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