“It’s an ordering of the mind leastways I tell myself in accordance with nature and what seems the desultory pride of being a woman our ability to weep what I remember of that last summer day before school began in the vita farce of our play in that tree house the Sabine River running in the distance our parents looking on my Aunt Bethany and her ex-husband assembled there with my daddy after he put the last nail in and though the sun went down late they let us play to wear ourselves out I guess because none of us would sleep in the summer light even if we was tired.  And it was Benjy.  Dulcinea called him Benjy in her preschool language and it stuck with him and it was him that after our interposed roles of family at play that evening decided he didn’t want no girls in the house and I suppose now nearly forty years later telling you so you may understand and write it down how I know now that tree house was like his family my daddy answering me questions later about his sister when I was a young woman after Benjy died after Aaron died at his own hand and Dulcinea like some desolate Niobe hers and Aaron’s child aborted how I learned of how her momma and daddy Bethany and David Threnody were wed Benjy with an older brother choked by the umbilical cord held by him so that blood was on his hands even before he could let out his first cry of rage and consternation that I suppose consummated all his contrary ways because you should know what you boast is what you ain’t never going to get just like how water how all the rivers flow to what is lower so what is lower receives all of it the same with all stations in life and even then in that summer light before school began before Dulcinea started kindergarten and Benjy and I a grade higher Aaron but to wait another year before his first lessons on appearance and reality that role the role of all that is contrary in comparisons how you can travel the whole wide world and still not know more than a man who’s nary looked out his own window the fact that if you state you are better you are no better and if it be the fame and praise you wish to receive by man all you will receive is torment for you will see how soon everything is forgotten even when I learned Bethany had a husband before David and that folks say or least my daddy said my great grandmother buried him in that river the Sabine we could see from the height of that tree and how on the day Benjy was born the howl of a hound woke her my great grandmother Bridgette leading her cursing to that first husband Papa Frenchie beaten by the restraining order of his second wife and stepsons and jailed the night Bethany was in labor (I just born as well and Aaron to follow a year later) his sufferings even losing sight in one eye bringing about the pity which feeds the past with love in fact them remarrying the same time David and Bethany sought their divorce this again speaking of that contrariness and how your ancestors look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present so you can see and put that in the words you write down the emptiness of any applause you think you might get out of it the very changeableness of what judgment pretends and how less is so much more…  But it was what Benjy said in that light lambent light of August after he kicked us girls out of the tree house after Dulcinea answered to his teasing by giving Aaron a kiss and the parents left gone inside to sip coffee and wait for us to play how he told Aaron and Aaron told me in his little boy words that I paraphrase to you now my contrivances to truth the very contrariness I speak that what you do you don’t want to do and what you don’t you do even though what’s done has was and always will be done so that when he (Benjy) said: ‘When I grow up I won’t be like I am now and I won’t remember my brother I never knew in the first place and I’ll put away childish things and I won’t tease you to be kissed and I won’t cry when I don’t get the things I want for I’ll be contented with what I have and what bothers me now will instead be left to a tranquil mind having what it’s got and I can look back on all this and how those silly girls don’t belong with us here in this tree and see the universe is but transformation and life is opinion…’ I can say Yes—be free—and look at things as a man…

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