I listen to July on the bricks, the weeds growing tallbelow the heat. At the bottom of the hill,three hardcore bands in the old box factorychurn out their simultaneous reliquaries,sped-up prayers to no one in particular.It is always postwar here.Some days I want to give it all back,this house, the neighborhood, the city,to the silt and the wolves, the long flocksof the sea folded and alluvial inside the clay.But that’s not my decision. Instead, I turnthe porch light on for the spider, the bulbbrings gnats, and soon the whole web is aliveand shining, as if evening could only beginwith these small deaths. Instead, I buy outdoorfurniture, citronella, gas for the mower, which isthe opposite of giving it back. I throw seedto the pigeons because the whippoorwills of my youthare now pigeons, no more chuck-will’s-widowthrough the low pines, signaling down the meadowa living radio mouthing news to the wind,quarried from the architecture of some child’s songin an old, dead time. It isn’t enough, but I’ll takewhat I can get. Look, there I am, a manbent at fixing himself somewhere, in the spacebetween our being and the earth that is. [End Page 190]
Josip Novakovich teaches writing at Concordia University in Montreal. His most recent book is Shopping for a Better Country. His work has won several awards, including the Whiting Writers’ Award and an Ingram Merrill Foundation award. He was a 2013 finalist for the Man Booker Prize.