How many Saturday mornings began by groaning here in unmatched gloves?
How many slates, plaques, or strange scales were pulled from the roof and paraded around the yard in the form of an eternal pilgrimage, resting here and there while awaiting some revelation whose reception seemed perpetually jammed by the particular atmosphere of the present.
We spent one whole summer straddling the roof alternately harvesting its pelt and receiving direction from below for the enactment of some newly concocted ownership pageant. Now the slates envelop the empty pond and elsewhere conceive a wall which, dividing nothing and bringing to mind a stack of ingots, are made functional solely by their murmuring of possibility.
Sometimes lifting one slate off another would expose two interlocking entirely flat ecosystems. Sometimes a slate would shear or crumble unpredictably like a piece of forgotten chocolate. Once in a while, some unwilling chip or sliver would become a proving ground, drawn and quartered by four whitening thumbnails pivoting across an unseen diamond formed momentarily by two brothers, four crashing knuckles.
A pile on everything.
This present recipe demands past ingredients; the product is nothing digestible—air burgers, air cheeses, air casseroles.
Memories congealed within break off and slide across transparent windows with such sudden entirety that both sides are startled and confused. A tiger passes a child in amazement. Never has it been this close.
Will it ever happen again that a waterlogged Frisbee, a hat, three rattling pinecones, and a sweater pulled by friends off a squirming sibling’s back will all be considered apt for the concept of a base. Or that a game will occur around these things until a ball is sent high into a tree whose trunk when kicked reacts with nothing and then, years later just as likely pulled down by memory as fallen from an insubordinate tree, a ball.
A pile on everything. A pile on this patio, this desk, this grass, that particular tree. A bb gun, a fountain pump, a carved mistake, and a pile for everything that did not happen. The chimneyed grill, brick and mortar all together the size of a banquet chair, used in parents’ absences for the burning of leaves, action figures, deflated basketballs, imposters ripped out of magazines, once a bible, and then, in hasty repentance, a yarmulka. The tools in the garage never fit for the task at hand that looked and weighed as if they had been stolen from a museum. Pikes and spades, rock barrows, enormous lances made of pig iron, wooden clubs with which to pound the dirt while wailing, two headed shovels connected by a single shaft like barbells, rakes less constructed than eviscerated, gauntlets made for digging like a rodent. Their densely ringed shafts would bend like hoses and sweat, needing to be rested more often than their users. They hearkened back to a time when the earth was less a quaint provider than an enemy from whom every morsel and grit had to be procured by way of duel or melee. The sand pit from which golf balls were to be chipped at a wooden fence not to be confused with the sand pit from which golf balls were chipped over a wooden fence on a town’s main thoroughfare. How fast the world becomes with the sudden sound of breaking glass. How strong that feeling from the couch in the living room with the television as an alibi of the weight and position of the evidentiary club below hovering ever so slightly off the wall, above the ground, as if crime changed an object’s chemistry in some nakedly observable way. The pond with everything but never fish. The pond with shame and permanence, frustration, bitterness and regret but never fish. The envelope of which we experience only the folded contents and not the destinations, the to and from, unless some outside force holds the whole thing up to light or, as is more often the case, we simply learn to read backwards.