Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2008 Vol. 7 No. 1


Audio: Oral

Epiglottis. An old suitcase. A fine patina on the thought freedom. I was only a child when I began; my grandparents’ patio was cement with a rough aggregate that rubbed your feet raw; he told a story about a boat. What rhymes with boat? A gurgling channel through the mangroves, and I was to wake up and show them how I learned to tie my tie. He is gone now, and my mother has wept; I have learned a song that will push against the yard: come home, dear child, come home. My feet burned, and then we were having burgers at a small place near the horse farm. He said he’d train me in the art of debate. I was quiet but lovely. I knew science. I had a knack for systems. One night, I let him have it, a complete architecture from the rounds of my mouth, dismantling his argument in a gnashing ascension like the high hedges that bristled into the open dark, where I felt I was left to breathe, where the sky was manifold and cool. I have never been to the ocean.