“It is what it is, son…”

“What?  Love?”

“It makes you think good.  That’s what you become wise to.  What makes it is what it is…  You wise up.  And all you really do is learn to hate yourself.  You’ve thought what you thought by then—know what you’re capable of—and it reflects.  It reflects in what you see of others…  Love?  It makes you think good.  And that reflects.  Other people love themselves too.  That’s how it is what it is.  Whatever it is you wise up to reflect…”

Duke Threnody wasn’t a large man in stature.  He sat in the shadows of an after Easter afternoon.  By a window—the sunlight at his feet.  He sat holding Jonathon Bonnor’s guitar.  He wanted to see it.  Back in the pawn shop.  In the apartment upstairs on 129 N 8th Street in East St. Louis.  The window by which Duke sat looking out in the back yard.  To a garden freshly planted.  His old hands cupping the guitar.  The fingers slowly gripping between the frets.  David stood before him, in the sunlight, and from where he stood his father looked small, holding that guitar.  But it wasn’t a bad kind of small.  It was utilitarian.  Benefiting somehow because he could fit in places.  Places a large man can’t go.  Like a child and where they go, and an adult.

“Know where you are at all times.  When you do that the words come.  To make it is what it is…  Does she talk to you?  Does she talk to you this way?”

“Yes…”

“Good…  A man needs that.  Don’t scoff at loneliness!  We all need our love…  And it’s a fight.  Don’t get me wrong.  It will always be a fight.  Even the good times.  You wise up now, you hear?”

“I seem to do alright.”

“Yes… you pride your foolishness sometimes.  And sometimes it’s rewarded.  Sometimes it’s not.”

“I’m staying, Pop.”

“What?  Here?

“We’re not going back to New Orleans…  I wanna help.  I wanna help in the pawn shop…”

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