25. A Sudden Cautionary Child


Lately, working in the backyard’s gardens for extended time has wreaked havoc with my muscles and joints. Too often these days I run out of air; there was once a time digging holes took the span of a few minutes—not all morning.

Mild temperatures this morning. Cool breeze. With my father’s spade I planted the last of the clusters of cannas stalks. Shallow bulbs and roots still clinging with soil from my parent’s house.

Dragon-fire blossoms. Torch red flames. Stalks for protest and social uprising. Despite the virus. Despite the militaristic police. Despite my age, the slow decay of the body and endless glasses of water. Social distances and daily masks. Morning stretches before coffee.

The hours I spent digging into earth into Texas yellow clay coincided with a rocket launch in Florida, a manned flight to the International Space Station. First launch in Brendan’s lifetime. He shows a lack of interest. Details a list of fears that I did not realize he held closely. A sudden cautionary child.

The same child who over the course of the past two months of remote learning practiced various flips and jumps between lessons. Who begged for longer breaks on his trampoline to master the techniques he found online. Double back flip in midair. Quint-full back flip. Arabian to cart-full fallout 360 to cart 720 to cart double full. He has talked nothing but landing a perfect cycle of acrobatics in stylized, random formulas. Enters the house, shirtless, with friction burns on knees, ankles, forehead, sun bruised, breathless, sweaty limbs.

••••

Storm clouds call out for possible afternoon showers. Our neighbors make tiers of their front lawn, shifting the topography of the landscape. Their conversation in Spanish filters over the fence planks every few moments.


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