His short fattish legs rubbed against each other in the heat, slowing
he bounced his ball, placing his shadow under those of the leaves of
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
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
the apple, turning already as it lost its water into a hard fibrous tissue.
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,
wings shrunken and useless. Mutated in the high temperatures and forced
to walk they fed on the moisture that clung to the walls, vegetables
fruits. The mosquitoes came through the screens crawling through the
squares that had been widened by a pencil pushed in and turned until
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
the dark clouds turning and turning with no sound, the rain never came;
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
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
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
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.
shows at the June Kelly gallery in New York and the Ute Barth Gallery
Her poems have been published in Poesie, The
Paris Review and The Denver
Quarterly, among other magazines. Her artist’s books are in many
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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