Deep in your ear is the fountain of youth and the city streets you knew as a boy, when you walked home from school with a loaf of fresh Italian bread to share with the pigeons. Deep in your ear is the smell of the bus exhaust you walked through, crossing the street, almost running—you’ve always liked that smell— and the gray light of the park and its playground, and the smell of newspapers caught against the waist-high playground wall. Deep in your ear is that park fountain, dry now, the huddled men and women on the benches, and your father sitting there one afternoon, holding a cup of coffee to his beard and mumbling at you. But he wasn’t your father, not really. Your dad was sitting in the kitchen when you got home, in a tee-shirt, crying. Was he speaking too? Deep in your ear is the music of those trees standing proudly in their little dirt squares, surrounded by blacktop, feeling the swirl of life only with their leaves, as their leaves are all they can do now. But still they live.
Michael Hettich | Mudlark No. 40 (2010) Contents | Where I Don’t Live Now