BY LILY LAUVER
I will cry at the concert to see everyone twenty-something
making music with some awful knowledge. We weren’t ready
for anything luscious. Some piece sends memory, the one of a tiny kid
with a tick, his name was Charlie, behind his delicate ear, a huge one,
and he didn’t know what a tick was. When it was off and we showed him
he pounded away yelling at the trees. I love Sophie on the timpani
—she tunes the drums exactly and doesn’t hold back. But we are
in the observation car now with our feet on the sill,
looking out and talk messy. Said all the right things about our sisters and dads,
about journalism, the physical constraint, about women who spend their lives
being surrogate wombs to others, about other forms, representative. And don’t you
forget about the woman who stood waving on a platform to us, to no one
in particular, and her smile so hopeful we couldn’t help but leave.
Lake Michigan like the elephant in the room. Like the whole other Chicago
is its reflection. And what does Chicago draw from that reflection?
We pass the old Water Tower. I’m suddenly sorry for thinking any town
static out the window, any place epitome. Lake Shore Drive and along
and along its monuments. Where was it—with the lady
who waved and the scarecrow? Everything flooded
and turned sog last night, the parking lots of old equipment?
Inadequate fields stilled-over. Nowhere to drain.
Of the Chicago Water Tower: that what was clean was under,
the whole ornate of it built to house a pump and now,
my goodness, an art gallery. Survived the Great
Chicago Fire. Said all the right things. On Lake Shore, a skunk inverted
as two wax lips—the cavity of the chest opened and folded to
the pavement. The smell like nothing other than. It was
Mendota, with the scarecrow hung against an old trailer
for decoration outside the railroad museum, the woman we left waving.