An ice storm. Large and small, the trees and shrubs, draped with icicles and encased in ice, are bowing, weeping, cracking, breaking. Flights of geese. Flocks of birds.
February 13, 2021
The Hobo’s Ice Jar
An old scraggly hobo asked for water. But my wife and I had no water, because we were in the process of clearing out the kitchen. The cabinets were empty, the faucet was missing. “That’s okay,” he said. “I’ll get some ice.” And he took a wide-mouthed quart canning jar from the counter under the window near the sink and left the room. I felt bad that we didn’t have ice. I knew we had metal trays for ice cubes. I could see them in my mind, sitting shiny and empty in the empty freezer compartment in the top part of the refrigerator. They were the same metal trays we had when I was a kid, with metal dividers and handles to crack and free the ice cubes. . . . And then I pictured myself dropping ice cubes into a drink glass, and remembered the cheerful, sociable sound of the ice landing in the glass, the sound that meant we had company. . . . Now I was thirsty, and the hobo’s ice jar was back in its place beside the sink. It was wet, sitting in a little icy puddle. I picked it up and held it to my mouth, wondering where on earth he had found ice. . . . Across the room, my wife had turned into a misty painting. I thought, “Has someone put us in a picture? Is this the artist’s idea of fun, turning us into paper?” And the paper was a sturdy, laid stock, yellowed with age. . . .
Recently Banned Literature, September 17, 2008
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