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SCHOOL-YARD / Jonathan Holden The cries of the children in the school-yard score the noon sun like stray gears, tooth to teeth, the voices of gears loose in the larger immaculate machine of day revolving toward its sense of destination, declining on oils of cold slick sunlight down the track that is its routine, as ignorant as a wheel passing over this brief space, the wheel feeling only the constant single point to which it is tangent, the reassuring pressure of where it is, the closest thing to pleasure it will ever know. But the children do not feel it as the wheel passes over. They leap and spill over each other like springy little cogs, unattached to this work. It is we, our bodies silent as if disconnected, who know that the wheel's circumference is tall as the bridges that the wind destroys as our weather comes clear and goes hard. It is we whose skin is instinct for the direction in which the work tends, as if gravity could roll from under our feet to the blue furnaces on the edge of the horizon. We try our presence against that possibility, the wheel's 40 ¦ The Missouri Review arrival, the rim bearing on us in its ignorance, joining us to all the other points that are of the one point the wheel is certain of, while in the dead center of the day the children cry in the school-yard and the bare trees outside suck their shadows into themselves as we do and wait, subsumed in the routine. Jonathan Holden The Missouri Review · 41 AN AMERICAN BOYHOOD / Jonathan Holden There was little important to do but chew gum or count the ways a flipped jack-knife caught in the dirt. One Sunday afternoon I had an idea. We clamped the cables of Tommy Emory's train transformer to a steel pie plate filled with salt water and drank through our fingers the current's purr, dialing that bird-heartbeat higher, riding its flutter until both hands were bucked out of water. We knew we were wasting our time, though we had nothing but time. Our parents moved vague among their great worries, remote as the imperatives of weather. And the stars appeared on schedule to run their dim, high errands again, leaving us lost in the long boredom of our childhood, flipping our knives in the dust, waiting to find out just how in this world we were going to be necessary. 42 ¦ The Missouri Review Jonathan Holden ...


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