Texas Beach


Night Run

I got stuck on the motorcycle in Carytown traffic Saturday night around six, which resulted in a wild hair that put me on Route 5 headed toward Williamsburg. I have wound circles around this city lately and I'm tired of it. The problem with Route 5 was a spring bloom of some kind of flying insect, I was forced to stop frequently to clean the guts off my visor. I got out of Williamsburg around ten, figured it wasn't enough, reached 64 and decided to go east. Somewhere outside of Hampton I got the idea to visit my parent's old house on Lynnhaven inlet in Virginia Beach. This is where Mary and I got married sometime late in the summer of 98. The last time we were there must have been Christmas of 2000 when we discovered she was pregnant with Henry. She felt nauseas in the hot-tub one night. There was snow on the sand dunes across the creek. The next night I was sent out for pickles and cottage cheese. I came back with a pregnancy test.

I must have made the Inlet sometime around 11:30 because I have a receipt for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which is where I went next, that puts me on it at eleven fifty-eight, last night, June seventh, 2008. I think the idea came from watching Cast Away the night before, and the scene where Tom Hanks is unconscious on his raft, just before being rescued by an ocean freighter so huge it almost seems to be passing overhead. My desire was to be out over the water. It was cold, I ran it fast and alone. It felt like soaring, which is exactly what I needed it to feel like.


The Dirt Smelled Like Dirt

There are things that cannot be made okay. There was no insulation in the crawlspace under our house, hundreds of feet of exposed black pipe leading to the convectors. I lined each of them with foam, wrapping each linear foot with all-weather duct-tape. A main trunk down the center took all of one cold Saturday in February. I re-acquainted myself with the spider crickets. Deep in one corner they sounded like rain falling onto the plastic vapor barrier covering the dirt. The dirt smelled like dirt.

Henry helped. In camo-coveralls, he crowded me, minded the flashlight, examined the spider carcasses hanging by their webs from the joists, he said he wasn't scared. He worried about the crickets. For two whole days I had him with me, in the dark belly of our home.



Every morning I forget how it is.
I watch the smoke mount
In great strides above the city,
I belong to no one.

Then I remember my shoes,
How I have to put them on,
How bending over to tie them up
I will look into the earth.

--Charles Simic

The Fire In Our Throats Will Summon the Thaw