Friend's Work

First There Were Vroomings on the Horizon
text by Owen F. Davis

Then a man, seated in a country whose cultural heritage was largely defined as never having had to endure, in the last century or two, explosive-laden metal canisters dropped from aircraft, lit a cigarette and countenanced a lake.

It was good.

A woman, seated in a country which had never (at least in her or her immediate family’s lifetimes) folded the bodies of its own citizens into smoldering mounds of earth, mentioned something Thoreau said once, something about lives of quiet contemplation. The lake lay steaming in its twilight.

Tubes of food product were brought to the two, neither of whom had ever felt the wrenching ambivalence one may feel when a plane heard overhead drops certain parcels, one not knowing whether to clutch at or hunker away from these parcels--of sundries? explosives? (the ambivalence of a paddled toddler’s sullen gaze towards the all-giving mother)--all this (for the woman and man) in a land where planes were heard daily and went unremarked upon unless indiscreet enough to intrude on a mute conversation, or, say, crease the steamy countenance of a lake. “But this is all too easy,” he said.

“Well,” she said, and nodded. They each chewed.

All of which made it a surprise, like the shock felt at an impertinent guest’s disavowal of something held unanimously to be good, when after they’d waited the abradant bleat of the planes the lake was lifted.

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