Tuesday, September 17, 2019
The Things We Do
I'm sitting in my dining room, eating an apple from my backyard tree, some salami and provolone and crackers. I just taught the short story "The Things They Carried" to a tenth grade boy at a small, specialized private school and am getting ready to read and grade a slew of essays on the "American Dream." These were written by my eleventh grade girls who are all part of a very conservative Jewish community. The apple is from the first crop of this little tree. It is green and blushed, tart yet sweet when it counts. The salami and cheese tastes a bit like packaging, and the crackers are banana-flavored, something I didn't notice when I bought them, but all together it hits the spot. As they say. It's all connected, in the end, maybe even by me. An apple tree in southern California, packaged salami and cheese, banana nut-flavored crackers, the Vietnam War and a boy who hasn't heard of it, the American Dream and a bunch of sheltered girls dreaming. That man sleeping on the sidewalk around the corner from my house with the apple tree in the backyard, his dirty feet and that woman walking, the crease where her ass hits her leg, a cup of bright red juice, the photo itself, me in my dining room, eating and reading, looking up at a small orchid, its magenta petals tipped by sun and the sound of leaves outside rustling a bit in a new fall wind.