Micro-memoir: Blindness in Early Youth

Walk and listen.

I follow a creek.

Blackbirds rattle and click in a dead elm.

In the trees I find a pile of discarded birch logs.

I listen as mud wasps fly in and out of their nest.

They sound like old people in a dispute. Buzzing in their different pitches.

They sound like the old Finns in my grandmother’s church.

Sober. Hard at work. Talking beneath their breath. Working while others are napping. A

little resentful.

Some are fast as b’b’s from a gun. Some are sluggish.

I follow the creek and wade through shallow pools among cat

tails.

Bullfrogs talk like the gods of mud.

**

“He’s spending too much time alone,” my Aunt Muriel says in her shrill voice. She has

two voices. One is scarcely audible, her lips moving a catacomb voice as my mother calls it.

The other is like a cry across a public square.

“He’s going to grow up weird!” Muriel shouts.

They are below me in the kitchen. I can hear them through a heat register.

“For Chrissakes Muriel he’s blind!” my mother shouts. “The kid can’t play baseball!”