STREAMBED A cloudless day in the cemetery where we have gone for the funeral of an aunt. Our five-year-old, named after his late grandfather, wanders about the headstones, dragging his fingers along the streambeds of carved-out letters. He stumbles upon his own name inscribed above a small bed of grass. He lies down, crosses his arms, closes his eyes, and waits. In time, he becomes old. The wind carves his features smooth as river rock. Someone lifts him and places him on his grandfather’s headstone. We no longer remember the town where he was born.
BICYCLE Somewhere in the world is the bicycle which I abandoned for a reason it did not understand then, and, leaning in the half-dark shed at the end of the garden, covered in cobwebs, still cannot quite fathom. Its small plaintive handlebars, slightly stooped, shrug resignedly, turned toward the bent-nail wall. Small wrinkles show the years of sadness felt by the forehead-sized seat, now twisted somewhat off-centre as it remembers the cheeks of my little apple-round boy bottom, the touch of my pale white hands. One day, we were chased by Lindsay Neville after escaping from his tree house; another, distracted by a shout, we rode full force into a hedge-covered wall. Together we rode into the wind and out of the neighbourhood after my grandfather’s funeral. Many times, we combed the twisting paths of the subdivision noting each tonal shift of street and crescent, of painted garage door and window trim, of cedar hedge, rock garden, and lamppost. One day, I leaned the bicycle against the side of the house and walked away. One day I’d become taller, older, and my father had promised me another.