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no gold (things will have to wait)

There is an old Russian expression for the inevitable moment when your neighbors begin renovating. "Searching for gold in the walls." They say, to describe the epic sounds of drills in ancient concrete. You might appreciate this odd humor, this dark joke, this survival tactic. I am not so graceful a man to wrap my thoughts around it. Those drills and grinders, they shake the very walls of our apartment. Early on Sunday mornings and often long into the evenings they go.

This has been going on for the last four months, maybe more. I stopped counting.

I cannot imagine there are any walls left, that there is an entire open floor below us, the wind whipping through the naked beams and nothing else. That is the only explanation. Or that they break down walls, build new ones, find a flaw, some grand mistake and then break all of the walls down again. Not swiftly with sledgehammers, but with one crappy old drill with a dull bit, mashing away, so that children hundreds of miles away…

a scream, a howl


There is a scream, as we sidestep the giant puddles in the parking lot. My neck cranes. There is no car speeding off, no body on the ground. The screams come again, now more than one person and I understand it is some teenagers playing in the woods. E's face relaxes. She was worried, the same as me. A delivery truck guns its engine, passing us creating a wave of frothy brown water. It is another monday here, a trip to the hardware store to buy cleaning supplies, an empty chore.

Trees are bending in the wind. I pull a hood tight around my ears.

A dog is barking, howling, whimpering. We see it, turning in circles, yanking against its collar.

Half of the neighborhood is up in arms while the rest of us make our way in silence.

Behind the grocery store that was simply gone one day, its doors a great loose mouth of brick and dust, I find a penny on the ground. Not a ruble, not a kopek but a penny. I show it to E.
"It's probably one of yours." She says, out of the side of her mouth.
I think of the people that pick through the garbage cans, maybe finding one of my pennies and tossing it, useless into the night.









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