- Vol. 01
- Chapter 01
The label is what interests him.
He has time enough to turn the picture,
squint at the inadequate print. Think.
Why he is surprised that Chicago should have a Natural History Museum
God only knows.
It cannot all be skyscrapers and mobsters.
He likes labels. More than he likes museums.
They have used museums mostly to shelter from the rain
and it is inadequate. He has been inadequate within.
He thinks about the urge to read from a label because he can. As oppose
to recalling or imagining the previous realities of anything.
It annoys his family and, of course, he is aware of this.
One cannot be over eighteen and remain silent for an entire afternoon,
however. Someone must show signs of life in a family.
Cheer can be brought with purpose. Or in the cafe, at greater expense.
He sons surf every experience. His wife wishes to linger.
Waiting for her now he thinks that frustration tastes of tea, drunk from paper cups in sidelined
spaces where he can smell his sons’ damp steaming jeans.
His boys’ clothes are marked and stained, defying Ariel, Persil and their tired mother.
She is ill and their jeans are so layered with history
that they should be handled by experts in gloves and studied like an exhibit.
The boys would confer over the labels, pointing out what spill
and what tear happened where. He would be interested to read them.
They might talk and he might stay silent.
It occurs to him that, when she is better, they could try a museum again.
He would change his own attitude and ask the boys to find one item only;
rescue just one thing from prolonged extinction, choose some words to describe it.