Inside And Outside Our Homes
We seek the familiar and foreign. Clay
After the wrecking ball had done its work, I brought them by the truckload to my back yard, antique bricks, hefty as ingots. I had a new front walk in mind.
They drowsed for decades, six hundred and forty-eight of them, in the mulch behind our woodpile. Tapped by rain and nudged by the fall of ripe persimmons, they sank wordlessly from view. Under sumac vines and rotting chunks of sassafras, split for the hearth but never burned, they vanished, even from my
memory. Until one day last summer, when I was reading the second book of the Bible. Those taskmasters and the strawless bricks fashioned in servitude
had this to say - "Make the old way new." To a baptism of hose water came the encrusted shapes, redeemed now from the earth, eight pounds each, sandpapered by me to a rusty
red, and ready for soles. It took thirty barrow-loads to wheel away the Philistines, put in place by unknown hands years ago, and the same number of days
to spread the bed of Mississippi sand, and counterpoint the resurrected rectangles, oven-fired geometry on grains of heartland quartz, a good way to come home.