Soil and leaves filled the empty human spaces, and always the buzzing of insects. Spider silk and dust and feathers and carapaces accumulated to build soil, to make new ground for the first seedlings of oak or mulberry that would push through the glass of those stone-walled greenhouses, reaching through broken windows to the sun, pushing through warped floor for the damp and earthy root cellar.
When Don says, “Wow, she’s good,” I muster up a grudging agreement, but I can taste the bitter wilted greens of envy. I’m already lamenting my lack of musical ability; now I feel dowdy, too—my chocolate brown sweater, the lush cashmere that I love for its tactile elegance, seems drab, its rich earthy hue muddied like the path we’d mucked through in the downpour.
I used to be a young girl, only 18, who had left the East—where I had neither much sinned nor been much sinned to—but had been often tired, and often had been the girl who did not raise palms when the others raised palms, who did not flay under a spirit-hook
Dr. Sweeney had summoned Coroner Edmund Rawson to Mrs. Bird’s boarding house because Eliza was in a “dying state.” Dr. Sweeney told him that the girl was a native of New Haven, Connecticut, who had “respectable connections.”
When we arrived at Boys Town, we all saw what we wanted to see. I noted that the church was old and stone and shaped like a crucifix the way I liked it. Priests bustled about before the beginning of Mass, behaving as if all this really meant something. One or two retired into wooden confessionals built into the walls in back, where people had already lined up, ready to purge.