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Sarah Plimpton

Come Along
Hurry Along


His short fattish legs rubbed against each other in the heat, slowing down he bounced his ball, placing his shadow under those of the leaves of the trees, hiding it in the black shapes of the buildings. His mother hurried on; he stopped altogether. There was an apple on the sidewalk split open in the sun rotten on the inside, the flesh was brown under the crinkling skin, liquid and ready to flow. Stepping up he kicked the sagging form to hit the wall and run down wetting the burning stone. The seeds appeared, pinned to the cement surface by the sun, stuck in the glue of the stuff of the apple, turning already as it lost its water into a hard fibrous tissue. His foot lightly touched the wet bottoms of the other paper bags to disengage their fillings. The ripe apples fell to the pavement cracked on the impact and broken open to the sun melted into soft and pliable shapes.
          The heat was too great. She should have left him at home sitting on a chair with his knees up knocking at the flies that dropped to the floor, their wings shrunken and useless. Mutated in the high temperatures and forced to walk they fed on the moisture that clung to the walls, vegetables and fruits. The mosquitoes came through the screens crawling through the squares that had been widened by a pencil pushed in and turned until the wire cut into the soft wood and made an indented ring. Their shadows larger than life size appeared on the ceilings and walls, the high whine swelled, his ear usually silent and small grew and dwarfed his head. He brought them out of the tube with his finger, dwindling in the light.
          Behind his head a fan pushed a current of air down the back of his neck stiffening the damp shirt with cold. Drops of moisture covered the glass on the table wetting the inside of his hand, he went outside the window onto the lawn rolling on the grass under the swing collecting the ticks marked up like small seeds. Taking hold they blackened with blood throbbing on his skin bursting finally with the pressure and heat. Walking in through the door he rubbed the sores picked up a peach bit through it filling his mouth with the soft pink fur. At the piano he played pressing the notes down with his careful touch, a steady monotonous rhythm. The dog got up and left the room pushing open the screen door running out onto the grass rolling over thrown onto his feet ran along the fence and went through a hole. The piano stopped, the dog barked down the street, the maid came in the room and swept the floor. In front of the window, he forced his eye against the screen.
          Outside no one was there. The lawn was black with pools of water evaporating and disappearing from one spot to another. The sky was hazy whitish and low down. Over the fence the fields extended just to the horizon, the trees lining their borders never converged. When they walked through the grass towards the end their legs tired as the edge receded and they stopped to spread out the picnic lying on the ground to while away the time. The grass was flattened down, the ants carried away the crumbs and they threw out the fruit pits to come up once they had gone. Pigeon flocks flew under the dark clouds turning and turning with no sound, the rain never came; in the late afternoons of the other summers, they would come in from the fields and enter the front door as the first drops began to fall.
          He swung on the garden gate back and forth in the sultry afternoons listening to the squeak, shifting his weight for the maximum sound to offset the noise of the insects rasping in the heat. He swung in the afternoon breeze squinting his eyes blurring the landscape that turned before him. The long narrow slit opened out on the clouds torn and ripped by the violent gusts, the black holes let in the wind and the cold draughts picked off the moisture icing him up inside. His words came coughing up the throat rolled in the mouth thrown off the palate they somersaulted out with ease, trailed with strings to be pulled in again if he felt the need. A collapsible ship launched on the sea, blown up with air floated easily on the heavy swell never drowned.

SARAH PLIMPTON lives in New York City and is both a poet and painter. She shows at the June Kelly gallery in New York and the Ute Barth Gallery in Zurich. Her poems have been published in Poesie, The Paris Review and The Denver Quarterly, among other magazines. Her artist’s books are in many special collections including the New York Public Library and The Metropolitan Museum. She will have a show at the Ober Gallery in Kent, CT in the fall of 2007.

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