Summer 1946 • Vol. VIII No. 3 Fiction |

The Dirge

My family were good people, and in ordinary times not much ever happened to them. But I remember even before I was drafted, walking home from school in the warm months of early spring, I used to imagine a discontent at work in Prairie Forest, like the breeze through the elms, where in a couple of months the locusts would be singing. This time that I remember I met the wounded hero from down the block, home from Africa. As we met I recognized his old pleasant smile, which said, I know something you don’t know; but that smile was all we exchanged. His sister, who was once a pupil of my father’s music school, suntanned and dressed as if she had been playing tennis, went in their house as I walked by, and started practising on the piano. And the bell ringer in the church on the next street started to go through his repertoire of hymns. There was no escape even then. There was no use walking around the place where I used to imagine rubble; it lay directly on my way to and from sch

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