How I love the world in all its ripe green beauty and all the people on its skin who cheer me with their thoughtless kindness! The sun pours down like pancake syrup. The grass comes up like grass in a dream. Today is my birthday, again; I’ve never been older. I’ll celebrate with a vigorous parade as far as my legs can take me. This time I may never stop walking. March with me down the boulevard (the street, to be honest) and kick your knees high as we strut through the town of my childhood. Wave to the crowds on the sidewalks! Can you whistle? Do you own a bassoon? I want to make music that sounds like it’s coming from just down the street and follow it into the rest of my life. Whichever way we turn becomes the parade route. This was my driveway. This was my yard, where I lay out one night in a shower of stars and wondered if anyone would miss me. Left is the school where I learned how the Lord made the day and the night; right is the school where I heard He had died. Here is the boss who taught me that work is just work and in no way its own reward. There is the house of the girl who said yes and her sister. We’ve gathered a boisterous crowd: marching bands and dogs on stilts and a monkey at the piano. The shopkeepers rejoice to see us. The bells on their registers ring when we come through the doors with our elephants! Everyone sings: Oh, remember me when I’m gone! Put the town behind me and I’m gone so long! Never thought the feeling would remain so strong. Something’s terribly, terribly wrong. Something’s quietly, horribly wrong.

Copyright © May 17, 2007 David Hodges