The Kite

West Harwich, Massachusetts, 1954-1959

Here, in front of the summer hotel the beach waits like an altar. We are lying on a cloth of sand while the Atlantic noon stains the world in light.

It was much the same five years ago. I remember how Ezio Pinza was flying a kite for the children. None of us noticed it then. The pleated lady was still a nest of her knitting. Four pouchy fellows kept their policy of gin and tonic while trading some money. The parasol girls slept, sun-sitting their lovely years. No one thought how precious it was, or even how funny the festival seemed, square rigged in the air. The air was a season they had bought, like the cloth of sand.

I've been waiting on this private stretch of summer land, counting these five years and wondering why. I mean, it was different that time with Ezio Pinza flying a kite. Maybe, after all, he knew something more and was right.


My business is words. Words are like labels, or coins, or better, like swarming bees. I confess I am only broken by the sources of things; as if words were counted like dead bees in the attic, unbuckled from their yellow eyes and their dry wings. I must always forget how one word is able to pick out another, to manner another, until I have got something I might have said ... but did not.

Your business is watching my words. But I admit nothing. I work with my best, for instance, when I can write my praise for a nickel machine, that one night in Nevada: telling how the magic jackpot came clacking three bells out, over the lucky screen.

But if you should say this is something it is not, then I grow weak, remembering how my hands felt funny and ridiculous and crowded with all the believing money.

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