The Diver

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When we heard the hector of crows, the sky turned lightfast as tracing paper, though no one copied the scene: spruce trees leaking from open sores, the town drunk, innocent, shaken out and beaten like a rug. Our laughter, brother, used to clink like ice in tumblers. Days slid tickets under glass for us to travel free of charge. You sculpted like wind and sea, without models or deadlines, chisel or rasp. I strummed non-minor chords of guitar. Then the mirror in our room grew ancient, demanding eyes for eyes, teeth for teeth, and our faces wanted contour, color, like empty fruit stands. Now I lie awake some nights, conjuring the haddock Fridays at that German place on Fourth, mother’s hair the hue and rake of straw. And think of those summer trips when you played dead in motel pools, releasing all your breath and sinking to the bottom, where you remained face-down—three, sometimes four, incredible minutes—until pushing to the surface and gasping for air, or until some unsuspecting guest, laced with panic, fully clothed, dove in to rescue you.