In Linea Recta

“Rattle of contents is acceptable in this type of merchandise.”

1959 was a pivotal year
for Ruth and Charlie.
They already had four boys,
and though they didn’t know it yet,
Ruth was finally pregnant with Theresa.
Charlie had a new job,
a promotion, from the mill
to the old General Office.
In December, they bought a new house
two miles away. They loaded
their new, aqua-and-white station wagon,
made fifty trips up two hills,
their furniture always in danger
of sliding out.
How was I to know,
riding on that green tailgate,
a purple dresser wanting to push
me to the blurred asphalt
running away from my feet,
that in a quarter of a century,
I would be sitting at a window
remembering that warm December day
when I was eight years old
and trying to understand what happened,
how that practically innocent boy
came to inherit a steel mill
thumping in his chest like a heart attack?

:: Timothy Russell, Adversaria (1993)

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