Wednesday, August 25, 2010

a home village

A dog is lying next to me, in the shade--my mother's home village. The water, fishing nets hang in a low line over the blue surface. A small white boat in the distance, this house was once a post-office. I'm sitting with my back against an old brick well, old and dirtied drinking-water somewhere under me. I flew over those clouds to get here, a whole landscape of them. They've thinned and spread, to show me the sky-blue reflected on the "grande rivière" and the ocean beyond.
This was once the post-office, letters from soldiers would wait here, people who ate and drank with my great grand-parents would come here, to pick up thick envelopes filled with scrawling narratives about things I can only imagine, and they'd come here to see, past the forking road, the traffic coming from three directions plus the river, and they'd come here to talk about the same sorts of things they would fold into envelopes, only maybe with more words, and without the same kinds of flourishes.
Now the post office is elsewhere, that generation is thinning. Boxes full of my childhood letters are in the attic. While exploring, this morning, alone in the house, I spotted my handwriting, not recognizing it--in a small crate, stacked up over a heap of boxes recently moved here from storage, with the furniture and coffee cups from my childhood in other houses. My mothers still hangs on to a few things for me; a thinning number of things. There is a beautiful and tanned family lowering a boat into the water, I hear their child, a heron, cars over the old bridge, cattails amongst the wildflowers, a wind from the ocean, and the boat's motor starts up. I smell a whiff of gasoline, the song I'm planning to sing at my sister's wedding comes on, a NB flag sways on the other side of the river, crickets, like the mechanical sounds of other places, the background music of tall grass, of tall memories that I don't have a firm grasp on because they aren't mine yet.
I'm trying not to think about anything too close to me, but it's strangely difficult to pinpoint what makes something close.

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