The tip of the shovel had talked to him with a dull thud, not just through his ears, but totally. It came into his hands and up the stiffness of his arms, through the quick riot of nerves on red alert, through all passageways of recognition. It was wood! At its tip was wood, a cavernous wood, a chesty wood, an enclosing wood. Promise poised itself, much like awards’ night and names to be named. Light leaped at his back, behind his head. Down through the awesome sky of darkness he could feel a star draining, down through thirty-five years of a hole.
The conversation had gone all the way around the corner and came back to death, or getting there, Prince having the floor and saying, “I had a friend just north of Boston.” That’s how he started, a simple opener, the way he does it, with natural pauses built in and a pass at saying he was familiar with Elizabeth Bishop’s poems. Hell, we knew that from similar discussions.
The Year You Were Born:
Your mother leaned forward in an aluminum lawn chair, scrunched her toes into the grass as the hot wind blew waves through her summer dress. She took another fleshy bite of watermelon and let her eyes slide closed as she savored the cool sweetness that filled her mouth. Your dad sat at the picnic table drinking a can of beer. He cupped a match from the breeze and lit a cigarette, and when your mother leaned forward, he stole a glimpse of her swollen breasts through his exhale.