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Daniel DiFranco For Neither Can We Carry They pulled a body out of the river when I was nine. The water had begun to freeze and they had to chip the ice away. My father read about it in the newspaper the next day. Gary Bailsey jumped off the bridge when he found his wife with another man. That part wasn’t in the paper. Our town was small then. Word got around. His wife disappeared not long after the funeral. I knew these things and could only appreciate the weight of them, fragments of the adult world, with the small deference of a child. I never saw the body, but there were pictures of police and firemen on the banks of the river in the paper. I still think about it whenever I’m near water. Thirty years later I still think about it. *** High up on the church, garland and a star adorn the steeple, silver and gold ring steel against the sky. The church sits at the end of a square in the town I grew up in. My parents still live here. The town is bigger than it was then. I walk into a coffee shop and order a tea. I sit by the window. A group of kids come in. College students home for break. “Jake’s picking us up at twelve,” a girl says. “I have to go home first,” says another. “Make sure to keep away from his older brother,” a boy says. “Why?” “He’s a pervert.” They leave. I watch them walk down the street. I look at the girls’ asses. Firm. Young. A lady wearing too much makeup, probably my age, I can’t tell, looks at me from the condiment bar. I feel her eyes. I feel like Jake’s brother. The door opens and a woman goes to the counter and orders a coffee. She pays and looks over. “Dean?” she says. She takes her drink and comes to my table. “Dean Baker?” “Maggie?” We went to school together and had the same friends. She gives me her number to meet for drinks. She has to get back to work.

Crack the Spine - Issue 72

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