Unholy Saturday
Three boys down by the river search for crawdads. One has hammered a spear from a curtain rod, and head down, jeans rolled up to his knees, wades against the river’s current. Barely seven, he’s the most determined. He’ll go home hours from now with nothing to show for his efforts except dirt and sweat and that residue he’s unaware of sifting down from a distant sky and glinting like threads of mica across his shoulders. In the distance someone keeps calling the names of the brothers in the same order over and over, but they don’t hear what with the riverbank gorged with blue weed patches and all the birds in hiding. Perhaps no one is calling and it’s only the voices of the air as the late light of June hangs on in the cottonwoods before the dark whispers the last word.
Philip Levine, from The Threepenny Review, Issue 114, Summer 2008

Unholy Saturday

Three boys down by the river
search for crawdads. One has
hammered a spear from a
curtain rod, and head down,
jeans rolled up to his knees, wades
against the river’s current.
Barely seven, he’s the most
determined. He’ll go home
hours from now with nothing
to show for his efforts except
dirt and sweat and that residue
he’s unaware of sifting
down from a distant sky
and glinting like threads
of mica across his shoulders.
In the distance someone keeps
calling the names of the brothers
in the same order over
and over, but they don’t hear
what with the riverbank gorged
with blue weed patches and all
the birds in hiding. Perhaps no
one is calling and it’s only
the voices of the air as
the late light of June hangs on
in the cottonwoods before
the dark whispers the last word.

Philip Levine, from The Threepenny Review, Issue 114, Summer 2008

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