Then the moving water the river the Sabine and not time here is Abe coffee-cream color sitting next to his darker brother who though hunched over rocking a head taller their fishing poles anchored by their feet and Solomon hears them the jaybirds in the trees the cypress along the shoreline the Spanish moss hanging from the branches his arm no longer extended his fingers no longer moving just the steady rocking back and forth almost to a rhythm with the water further out its sound still in a pool near before them their lines overreaching and Abe says almost in a whisper:

“It’s like I woke up. She woke me up. Which is why I wrote it.”

And when two things have something in common in what they are in their time and place it’s easy to see meaningful coincidence some sort of magic and this is way we tell it this is the way people in the Lebeau family told what happened that day when Solomon caught a fish the way Dulcinea remembered it the way Abe wrote it down.

“Love–it just ain’t enough. It’s never enough. I write it and then I read what I write and I write about her how I even hate her sometimes how I pray to God that someone will understand what she does to me how she makes me feel when I am with her and when we are apart how I get so damn mad… And I can’t write about anything else–how can I? If it is to be true. For how else can I make it real? My life without love. And I’ll be damned if I don’t make her important even though she’s just a girl but she woke me up and that is what I remember. I remember it well outside all the other distraction…”

Then the line moves the rod bends and Solomon begins to rock more forcibly letting a small whimper escape from his mouth and it is Abe that fights the fish. The picture as all fishermen tell it. When a fish tries to break free from the hook in its mouth and it lets you see it how for a moment you see it in mid-air and then the ripples in the water. Telling time backwards. What all stories are told about you when you’re not there that you only hear about later. How it takes two people to make you and only one person to die. How the world ends but the story distracts us from it. How the magic never dies in the retelling. In a fisherman’s lies.

And so the family gathers round. To see what Solomon has caught.

“You can’t eat him. That fish has got the ich.”
“He’s an old one. Big too. You can tell by his whiskers.”
“Why that’s Ol’ Tom!”
“Ol’ Tom?”
“Folks been talkin’ bout him for years. Ask anyone that’s fished these here waters.”

And when we made a bet I made a bet By God it’s been almost eighteen years the white man with a rash and I said Open him up And there it was the necklace still intact the retted Spanish moss…

“What’s that? Is that a decoder ring?”
“A decoder ring?”
“Yeah… it comes as a toy…”

Hush now Solomon!

But now time and not the river what leads us here to a message encrypted in psalms and Abe a young man and Solomon a man-child there it is upon his ring finger like a wedding vow and when they move there are strings beneath them making a sound. An old guitar the man who gave it dead the woman he sang to on it dead the children of a lesser god sayin’ I got it–I got the ol’ time religion. And so what is fearfully and wonderfully made rests here it rests beside a river.

And he is laughing. He is laughing.

31

The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed.
― Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death

I thought he would sing, but he didn’t. I thought he would dance, but he didn’t. The day Dulcy was born he sat quiet as if in a torpor. He sat staring at a book I knew he wasn’t reading…

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