The robins in the back yard run around like they’re on a mission but it always turns out to be worms. And I keep hearing the song of the cardinal, but never the way people describe it: “cheer, cheer, cheer, what, what, what, what.”
It is summer and from the back porch I can see the setting sun. The mad and incoherent city day gives in to a moment of theater: the single pigeon on the slack power line, the city noises. From here it looks like the houses are lit from glowing street-long cracks in the earth below. You come up behind me and wrap your arms around my body and rest your head between my shoulder blades. We pull the mattress outside and lie around and read until we fall asleep, and we talk in our sleep.
My boss, his face lost all color, then became suddenly very red, then lost the redness too and settled on this buzzing pink. There’s the woman with the headband. She’s telling us all about a website we have to make, and how there isn’t the right amount of time to make it but if we work hard it will be very good for us in the end. When she is making a point she knows is invalid she takes off her headband and whips her hair back like a berserker. You have all the people sitting around the table, too, watching these two at their little show, watching the slow damnation we put in motion ourselves, never quite knowing what we’d done, twitching at the thought. A painting called A Bend in the Dry Durance makes me feel better somehow about my own dry durance until I learn that the Durance is a river in France.
This morning on the bus some lady says it smells like Big Red in here, Big Red and spit. Concludes that this country is broken. The cold facts come early and stick around. Sad country all day long. Evening come home and watch the pot boil.
It’s by Big Country, it’s called “In a Big Country,” and somewhere in the folds of the multiverse is a land full of people who play this song at the start of every day from their belltowers, or as they call them, melltowers. They are 100% efficient at turning the giddy power of the right song at the right time into a full day’s energy, and so their deserts are parceled full of gardens.