OPENING MY FIST by David James 1. the life and death of me sleeps upstairs in his crib, a towel for a blanket. Henry, my youngest grandchild, dreams about pieces of toast the size of cars swimming in a sea of lemon rice soup. my heart falls out when he smiles at me or says, “Wow, oh, wow.” we spent an hour this morning climbing up the stairs, climbing back down. 2. there are no words pure enough for the love of my three grandchildren. they are my personal gold mines, my new stars, oceans yet undiscovered, glorious miracles. 3. I turn 60 next week and already find myself calculating how much time I have left to see them graduate, marry, have kids of their own, struggle to lift the weight of the future off my tired back 4. which they will not be able to do, of course. 5. life is an opening of your fist and a letting go. you give away pieces of yourself here, lose small pieces there, and hope someone sees them, picks them up, maybe even keeps them, tucked away in a dresser, a glove compartment, a hole in the back yard. borges was right—a man dies for real only when the last person in the world who remembers him 6. dies. I have sixteen years left, if the lousy actuaries know what they’re doing. maybe I can prove them wrong. 7. maybe not.