after the Heidelberg Project Say you've got your ear pinned to the linoleum because your toes are blistered with gravel, you're hot, and the fan is whispering sweet anythings into your brain. The cat's toenails rattle the ground and soft echoes of a somewhere else pulse into your ear drum. This is not the first time you think you don't belong here, or at the very least that you should unstick yourself from the grime, but you're not above it. Later in the day you will find yourself on the other side of the state. This is a good place to begin. You see a shopping cart pinned to the top of a sawed off oak tree in the middle of Detroit, chain link fence caked with shoes spray-painted white, silhouette of a melted doll riding a jet ski on the edge of a grass lot matted in circles of primary paint. Your niece is six and wants to cradle the charred mermaid in her hands and when you remind her not to touch it, she says this is freaky and wanders down the sidewalk toward her parents. She is your godchild and this is the closest you will ever come to knowing innocent affection as you sign the panel of yellow corner house, drop your dollar in the jar. The woman who owns the home seems cheerful enough and you think you could be happy most anywhere, that it might do you some good to follow the river in your own backyard the next time it floods, but then the woman begins some minor chord melody, her account of cooking eggs in the microwave, Mother's Day mornings wrapped in tinfoil and sunflowers, and how her hard-ass neighbors are still here in 2015, riding it out on their porch swings. You watch them watching the green fields that look as though they could empty into some gold mining ghost town, some Paris of the West.
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