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no invitation

We are at a 3 year old's birthday party in the back room of a cafe. Music is pumping from a tiny speaker. Balloon animals are popping, and waving in the air. A man in a yellow dinosaur costume dances wildly. Parents snap pictures with satisfied smiles on their faces.

A little girl approaches gingerly and stands in the doorway, straying from her parents somewhere inside the restaurant. She cannot be more than three. It must be hard to ignore all of the noise coming from this room packed with celebration. There is a perfect little pony tail at the back of her head. She hesitates, as one foot poises in the air and then rests back down. How to understand that she was not invited. How to understand the laughter, the loose jumping bodies, the presents piled high on the window. None of this connects to her. There is a little plate of food waiting for her back there, in the quiet restaurant. Maybe a warm bowl of soup, thick with noodles. I watch her for some time.

That night, her empty e…

babel


The door to a shed yawns open, empty inside. It stays this way when it rains, when the sky is crammed with clouds. I check every time I pass it. There were some plastic bins in the grass that someone took, tossed aside like a child's toys. A man hole cover rests, a crescent shadow on one side that leads down beneath the street, maybe to wires, maybe to pipes or maybe to nothing.

A pile of bricks stand, a makeshift babel, a marker. Is a family pet buried here? Is this just a balancing act? I take pictures of it once, and then again. The weeds are growing tall here. It is a minor miracle, that no one has knocked it down. Not even the fresh hurricane that swept through the city last week could topple it. Black clouds swirling above buildings like a comic book's last act, rain smacking against windows, streets flooding and these bricks remain.

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