On the Birth of Good & Evil during the Long Winter of ‘28
When the streetcar stalled on Joy Road, the conductor finished his coffee, puffed into his overcoat, and went to phone in. The Hungarian punch press operator wakened alone, 7000 miles from home, pulled down his orange cap and set out. If he saw the winter birds scuffling in the cinders, if he felt this was the dawn of a new day, he didn’t let on. Where the sidewalks were unshovelled, he stamped on, raising his galoshes a little higher with each step. I came as close as I dared and could hear only the little gasps as the cold entered the stained refectory of the breath. I could see by the way the blue tears squeezed from the dark of the eyes, by the way his moustache first dampened and then froze, that as he turned down Dexter Boulevard, he considered the hosts of the dead, and nearest among them, his mother-in-law, who darkened his table for twenty-seven years and bruised his wakings. He considered how before she went off in the winter of ‘27 she had knitted this cap, knitted so slowly that Christmas came and went, and now he could forgive her at last for the twin wool lappets that closed perfectly on a tiny metal snap beneath the chin and for making all of it orange.