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Joanna Manning is a graduate of Syracuse University and the Rainier Writing Workshop.

Her work has appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune, Travel Tacoma + Pierce County, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine Women's Health Annual, A River & Sound Review, Collateral and in content marketing materials all around the web. 

When she is not spending time with her family, she can be found working in her garden, staring off into space, burning dinner, or unearthing stories from her family history.

Eavesdropping

Eavesdropping

Amid the noises of the city and the chorus of disembodied voices drifting to my yard, one conversation between a father and daughter stands out. The daughter is leaving for the gym. Her father tells her to be careful. I-love-yous are exchanged—eight, perhaps, in the course of their brief interaction.

As I sit here eavesdropping, I see much more than I hear. I imagine, for example, this neighbor's late wife has been resurrected in his grown daughter's face, that "I love you" is not just a declaration but a prayer. I am thinking about many things—how we can think of love itself as a talisman against the worst of things—even death—though our rational minds know better. This neighbor knows better. His knowledge is evident in every utterance of affection: my love may not protect you, but you can carry it with you. Are you driving? I love you. Be careful. I love you. I have loved you all the days I have not been able to tell you, all the days that may never come.

Do we ever say it enough? Do we let love fall like a mantra from our lips?

Save me

Save me

Meditation from a hospital room

Meditation from a hospital room