Every seventh grader plodded out of Bio class that day with a blue or pink pin on their backpack or breast, sporting the words: Love Carefully.

How does the starving cheetah find beauty? Hunger springs her tight-tied muscles, throws her loose, she arrows through the sky until her teeth sink into meat, cling onto bone, and the itchy fur mustache parts as the skeleton crumbles, torn flesh soaks down her throat, sews life like rain inside.

How does the many-eyed berry find beauty? Millions of others blot the same land, humming with the same bees and would-be parasites, waiting for the same farmhand with his bucket. A plastic bowl, a douse of tap water, upside and downside of one pair of lips, an explosion in blood-violet – Down to blue. Their sisters never learned to count to one.

I paused while running to admire an April-wet pinecone in the sturdy riverbed grass. Drops like crystal tears spun from every wood shelf, pearl-belly round. I wanted to enjoy the spiral as a whole, to staircase down the crowning convergence as each tier wound into the inevitable other, gemstone-joy-weeping years with four seasons apiece. But something happened: One drop hit my face all by itself. It was just like every other dewdrop, but to me it was from a different place, it was a cloud’s gift, it was a ring to twain around my finger. It was my love for you, and it splashed into the grass like all the other teardrops from the clouds. They’re all the same, my mother says.



Image credits in order of appearance:

By Operational Land Imager [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Dariusz Kowalczyk – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

By Bob Peterson from North Palm Beach, Florida, Planet Earth! (Dewdrop  Uploaded by Jacopo Werther) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

By Sergeant James McCauley – [1], Public Domain,


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