In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

OOSH / Sydney Lea —Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness ... ? (Jeremiah 9:10) What was it that he voiced? Perhaps the rush of sustenance he felt and heard. This oosh: throughout his first full year of life, elapsed, his nonce-word, nonce-sound, nonsense brought the breast. In any hour he had but to decide to draw the shirt or shawl or blouse aside. Oosh. To say it also meant to be just where he meant to be. And just so we are jaunty when the pleasurable obtains in things that are both needful and routine: come Sunday, reeking garbage cans to load, I find I fairly bounce out on my toes to drive down to the dump, since there I find, as I expect, the same old neighbors, friends. We group and gaze into the barrel fire that Charlie keeps. We call him "Mr. Mayor," benign custodian of the dump, because of all our townsfolk he's most recognized. . . . Weather, town, and team, just this and that— a tribe, it seems, we stamp our feet and chat a while, and then disperse into our lives, fathers, husbands, children, mothers, wives. It's nothing, yes, yet I at times imagine those lives without it somehow might be barren. For all that we are cruel, or may be so, wracked by sickness, anger, bills or woe, for all that winter's bleakest woods surround, we are sustained here by our idle sounds. For all that we may wander or may suffer, 108 · The Missouri Review in this our weekly moment we're together. You know it's silly, yes, but in your way know what I mean, Tm sure. In our own ways, we're sure sometimes. And so in that first year his idle word, his less-than-word, was sure, was jaunty as our dump-talk. Oosh, he'd say, as some of us may say, "Give us this day—" in a Sunday when in fact all our desires seem ready to be met: crisp autum air and dazzling trees, the game on television. Now he says it —oosh— and it is different. I loom here in the darkness. Oosh. He shudders. He knows the word for milk, and he knows others. And yet through all these hours he's being weaned he'll cling to it for life, his magic sound that works no magic now, and so is thick with pain and wonder: Mother, I am sick. Dear Mother, Oosh! I'm sick at heart, I'm crazy. Here are the desert's ruins, Mother. Save me. Mother of God, have you dispatched this demon? Must I wander, Mother, the fallen nation, wearing my threadbare beggar's blanket, lost? Oosh, dear Mother! Rock me in your breast. Sydney Lea THE MISSOURI REVIEW · 109 ...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 108-109
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.