Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I am not, on the whole, a devotee of cute. Nor am I very interested in needlework or fussy home decoration. But yesterday my friend Angela unexpectedly sent me a present: this little embroidered chicken cloth. It's very small, the wrong shape for a handkerchief; possibly it's a miniscule dresser scarf. I haven't yet learned from Angela how she acquired it--a yard sale, the Goodwill, a dead family member. All I know is that it arrived in the mail, folded into an envelope like a letter; and unfolding it felt like opening a letter, exactly the sort of letter I needed.

So I asked James to take its picture, so that I could show you my letter. The rooster bears a vague resemblance to my own rooster, but the chick looks like no chick that ever lived. They reside together at the bottom of a wrinkled world that is the color of morning glories and is surrounded by a short white fence. All day long they converse, standing beak to beak in a patch of white grass. You might imagine that the chick is looking up respectfully at the rooster and that the enigmatic rooster is staring into the white horizon. But if you think about chicken eye placement, you see that really they are both looking at you.

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