Septemus 3

Dear Septemus,

I wish I could make things easier for you.


I don’t know why you wake up mad and why you fall into rages. Are you mad at me? Are you upset about being here? What are you missing?


You look at me sometimes as if I should understand.


They told me at the agency that you didn’t remember anything–none of you did. They said that the impact of the landing erased all memory.

But I think they were lying.

When I read to you last night, you looked up at me and asked, “Bizaabgotojo?”

The strangest thing happened as you said that–I saw a flash of blue. A hand. A blue woman’s hand. Was that your mother? I felt intense sadness. You remember it all, don’t you? You miss them.


You woke me early the next morning with your tears.

I don’t know where she is. I don’t know where your brothers and sisters are. I know you miss them.


Grilled cheese helps, doesn’t it? It’s my favorite, too.


We ate breakfast together. You surprised me by laughing. I don’t know what story it is you told–I don’t know what “stipooo kiya cocinoxitopo stipoo” means, but it sounds funny and as you said it, I saw in my mind a flash of a blue man walking on his hands backwards. Is that a “cocinoxitopo”?


But you were sad again after we washed the dishes. It’s Saturday, but first thing Monday morning, as soon as they open, I’ll call the agency and talk with Ms. Snyder. She’ll know where your brothers and sisters are. Maybe if you can see them, you’ll feel less lonely.


When you’re older, I’ll tell you what happened to the pale blue woman who was on the ship with you–your bizaabgotojo.

But I have a feeling that you already know what happened.


I guess that’s what makes it hard to accept me. I am not a substitute. My skin is brown and my hands are rough and my voice is low and it doesn’t echo like water in a cave river.


You seem to like people with softer voices better, like Miko and Darling.

You lit up like a firefly when Darling came by this afternoon. You laughed and birds sang and the sun shone and it was Saturday afternoon like Saturday should be.


“You should try playing with him more,” Darling said to me.

“I’m not sure he wants anything to do with me,” I replied.

“Nonsense!” Darling said. “He’s crazy about you! Any fool can see! Just don’t be so sad and worried and serious all the time. Play a little!”

So I twirled you around and we flew like a double-decker airplane.

“Woot! That’s what I’m talking about!” Darling shouted. And you laughed like a river.


We danced before bed. I put on Coltrane, and we got mellow, and you hummed like a little bird, and the pictures I saw in my mind were peaceful and flowing, just the swirling colors of a sleepy imagination.


You’re sleeping now, and if I close my eyes, I can still see those colors, and I feel something, too. I don’t feel my heart breaking for you. I feel the beginning stirrings of happy.

Your pal,


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