The Gift by N. Scott Momaday
As it is with friends who haven’t spoken for awhile, we shuffle our feet before we hug. Sometimes we hug for hours.
How are you? And this time I really mean it. I have found myself before at fault for using it by way of hello, but these days I am really asking because I want to know: Are you happy? Loved?
I have learned how to be funny with people who have always seen me sad, and to be sad, and comfortably I might add, with those who always thought that I don’t hurt for very long. If I am lucky, and on some days I am, these people are the same.
What changed, is the crux of a conversation I’ve had a few hours ago. I said, I think it was time. A bit of distance, maybe.
I have been exploring language differently. It’s enough to spur me forward. Does that make sense?
N. Scott Momaday
For Bobby Jack Nelson
Older, more generous,
We give each other hope.
The gift is ominous:
Enough praise, enough rope.
This is from The Norton Anthology of Poetry (Shorter Fourth Edition), edited by Margaret Ferguson, Mary Jo Salter, and Jon Stallworthy, published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997.