Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Way

I was raking leaves into the street. The city picks them up. I don’t know where they take them. The dog watched me work. He raised his head as a car pulled to a stop near me. A woman inside needed directions. My knowledge of the streets and avenues is encyclopedic. A cigarette dangled from her red lips. She spoke through it. Smoke rolled out the window. She asked, Do you know where God lives? I leaned on my rake to think about it. The dog walked up behind me. He growled. Dogs know. I imagined the streets. Unfolded a paper map inside my mind. The woman waited. She took the cigarette from her lips. It was stained with lipstick. I pointed down the street. Without understanding any of it, I explained the way. It sounded very nearby. She put the cigarette back in her mouth. Put the car in gear. She thanked me. I made a strange motion with my hand, saying, you can’t miss it. I’m sure I won’t, she said, and drove away. I stood in the street. Held the rake. A few more leaves fell at my feet. Her car disappeared around the corner. I stared after it for a long time. The dog whimpered. Or maybe that was me.