Wednesday, July 23, 2008

so no sooner did i write, bitterly complaining about the searing heat, and in comes the rain, a gentle one, cooling off the streets and bringing in a wave of clear sky, dry and pleasant weather. not that i could enjoy it; late at night, i tuck the kids in quickly so i can top off an eight hour class day with a couple of hours of grading, until i can't take it anymore and do pop-art. but in between, i saw a pretty town. dry, clear, pretty.

at one point we were all at the dairy queen together- me, noey, elias and corey; we had ice cream and sat on the curb; this is what you do in carbondale. down the street, the police were pulling someone over; on our side, it was the liquor store and its constant supply of drama, of some sort or another. directly in front of us, a "clearence" sign of a saluki store, out of business for several years now, the spelling wrong that whole time, on this sign. beyond that, the train, which comes occasionally, and sometimes doesn't. the owner of the dairy queen was a coach of the baseball league, and i remind him of that, ask him how the red team is doing; he's wearing red even now, and his boys, now huge, are in the parking lot hanging on a car's doors with friends; all of them know noah. all is well; we play in a grass strip where i yell at the boys occasionally for going where they don't belong. the sugar of the ice cream will, eventually, work its way out...the hot, clear day will help; we head home, where we climb trees and gather chiggers to drown in the bath. they are invisible, those chiggers- but then, so is that dellicate balance, that keeps kids in a parking lot, hanging on a door or tearing around, shoeless, stepping over roots in the grass strip. when i walk out the door in the morning, slightly bleary from no sleep, or dreaming of bad grammar, whatever, but the bite is gone from the heat now; you can breathe; get outside quick, while you can. my bike ride is the time i am actually out there, now, that and when i'm shuttling boys around, windows open, bouncing across train tracks. hello to the trainman, the boxcars, the pavilion. my team was the gray team; the c is for carbondale. they're stenciing in the big paws on the streets again, in anticipation of returning fresh-people, some of whom we've already seen; we call those dawg paws "clues" on account of having watched too many kid-movies. illinois avenue goes only north, there at the dairy queen; people drive by as if they have serious business to do in, say, desoto. who am i to say, though? i'm here only for a moment, and that moment is fleeting, though, fortunately for me, shared, and sweet.

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