G.C. Waldrep



Did they really speak in tongues. When they started. Or was it just a change of pitch.

Two hours late. Too dark now to see much of the park.

Shoveling the snow that falls flat on flat roofs. Trying to get it off before the buildings collapse.

Wooden benches at the station, two hours late. Old paint. Chipped. Maybe lead in it.

Did they use instruments. Do they.

At the station someone has left a tract. I pick it up and open it. Testimony of a woman from Bessemer, Alabama, about how her father found the way.

The snow outside. Not swirling. Falling straight down.

Do you like the typeface. (What.)

I wasn't there. I only heard about their speaking in tongues. Maybe they just wanted a third language. You know, the trinity.

He said That Jerry Falwell is a righteous man. He said Wash that shampoo bottle off. A tub of warm water. Soaps itself.

Two hours late.

In the park the ice is moving. Presumably. We won't see it.

The woman's father had my name except for one letter. Don't you have cousins around Birmingham.

This was the freight depot, originally. They tore the old passenger station down years ago. At least the lot's well-lit.

Did they use instruments.

Would I change one letter in this typeface. Would I set it down again.

Drying the shampoo bottles. He'll sell them, all right. Three-for-a-dollar.

I heard they had a guitar.

The neighbor's boy peeled paint from the walls. Ate it. They called the ambulance.

Did you hear about the old hangar in town. It caved in. An act of gravity. Too much snow

Falling straight down. I set the tract back on the sill.

The woman's father had the same name as mine, except for one letter. But Alabama is far away and he is dead. She gives his testimony.

The letter is a vowel.

No air moving in the park, just ice. Presumably.

Did you wash your hair before we left. Three days on the train without a shower, you remember how that feels.

He said Put them out there on the shelf. He said Nothing is sure until you have the money in hand. He hummed a little.

If you lay your ear to the rail you can feel what's coming. If you touch it with your tongue your tongue will stick.

Who bought this horse anyway. (Oh really.) Then where would we be.

Here, try this. You can feel the thrumming. It's almost a sound.

There was nothing anyone could do for the child. They thought he would be a prophet, but they were wrong. They washed the body and buried it on the hill. They sang. Someone had a guitar.

Two hours. Bright bright bright in the sodium glow.


Faith is a tough sell, in any language. It's true, I did pick up a stray Jehovah's Witness tract in the Libby Amtrak station one cold night, only to discover inside a personal testimony by a distant cousin of mine. As for Libby, the entire town and adjacent Kootenai valley were declared a Superfund site by the EPA in late 2001, courtesy of W.R. Grace & Co.'s vermiculite mine. Mario Benedetti: "Maybe in the end we all conspire." Odysseas Elytis: "Here, now as then, exhausted perhaps by our peregrinations, we need a little silence before hearing again with a virgin ear the huge, susurrating poplar of our thoughts."