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Afternoon


Cool air arrives, sounding in high parts of the huge silvery plane tree
in the churchyard. In the schoolyard, children add their steps and
voices, the ball travels through the last of the sunlit air. My neighbor's
yard with its canopy of grape leaves is in shade, save for a spot of
brightness on the edge of the wash kitchen where she sleeps at noon.
Outside its door her black yard slippers. The phone rings, no one
answers. Another old woman knocked on her door an hour ago,
she didn't answer. It's past the time of noontime naps, it's seven. There's
still plenty of light. It doesn't get dark till after nine. She called earlier
to give me warm leek pita. The last thing as I closed her gate
was the creaking, which could be oiled, but she wants to hear when
someone is coming. Now her roof is creeping with summer afternoon
shadows and splotches of light—a camouflage—the top half
of one of the chimneys is still all in horizontal light—bright, deep, sharp,
sweet. And melding. The shine of the iron water jug on her stove
must be fading.


Tryfon Tolides

The Missouri Review

Fall 2012


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