State’s official clam

Stop sign, pedestrian sign, first of the four telephone Poles. First of the thirteen saplings or trees to the right. First of the (several) fence sections to the right. Nothing between the second and third telephone poles: no signs, no outcroppings, no utilities, no concrete projections, no unanticipated plant life, no errors from the work crews, the sewer section, the water section, merely the wires between the poles overhead, their shadows sloshed to the side and into the road. Above, they seem an orderly enough procession of the county’s embodied or delineated loquacity, of their searching (though maybe that’s underground); but to the left they appear in a jumble on the road, as if the sun, in frustration, had haphazardly cast down this heavy bundle of railroad ties of shadows. (“No dumping” says a sign on the sewer.)

Earth is indeed where the sun dumps much of what is in the sky. And in the branches. Between trees six and seven the baseball field fence pivots inward, away from the road, 30 degrees. (Why have you not brought your protractor or compass on your walk to determine the exact angle? How are we to make an absurd museum of the universe without our measurements being distortedly exact?) There is, in general, a failure to have been James Agee… (The “Faulkner of his present” will come to mind, their similar styles and differing ideologies….antinomies) Adjacent to the third pole, a concrete sewage opening, a no dumping emblem centered on its lips: green and blue mole with the embossed likeness of a fish. Iron lips, concrete cheeks, a mole, bloated: The Chesapeake. Chesapecten Jeffersonius, which is the official clam of the state. Farther on, ascending a gentle acclivity, an emergency snow route sign, then a no parking sign, then the fourth telephone pole, and a hydrant.

Fence slanting away from the walk on the right, and trees following the fence. Pine. Where it ends a path of dirt and stone in the shade, dirty multi-colored pebbles the size of peas and grapes, leads at a diagonal from the sidewalk to the ball field beneath five trees that are spaced randomly and closely (some trash here: empty pack of menthols, a crushed and weathered waxen soda cup) backed by three houses, only the first with a fence, which is of a dark wood that looks wet. In the front yard, two water bottles have been left out near the property line: the interior of their tops beaded with foggy drops, “frustrated in their hike toward evaporation”, that mountain the drops will toil to reach, a white work van in the drive. “I am like those drops,” (or some such nonsense) is thought (which is more descriptive of thinking itself perhaps: these caught evaporative ponderings) and one can’t think of a white van today without thinking too of the sniper.

%d bloggers like this: