By Ethan Canin
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By the time the sun dropped behind the high gable of the house, we’d freed a whole main trunk and all its branching; and soon after that, I pried a lump of clay from the far furrow of the ditch and came to the cracked sewer flange itself. As the trench moved into shade I dug away at the covering, chipping apart the clay hub with a chisel until I finally pulled out a long, fibrous lump in the exact shape of the joint. That’s when I heard Clara’s voice again behind me. ” she said. I turned. She had come down from the porch with the book in her hand.
I took a couple of steps closer and saw then that his wife was there, too, standing behind a tree. She looked wrecked, I have to say, and when she noticed me watching she gestured me away with her arm. That’s when I turned back and found that her husband had lowered himself onto one knee, and even from where I stood, I knew he was weeping. That was it. The quiet end of all of it. There was no one else alive now who knew. II 1971 I WAS RAISED ten miles from that cemetery, in a town that was almost entirely built and owned by a single family, the Metareys.
Oh,” I said. “Better. Nixon won that election. ” “I mean more than that. I mean Nixon was in on it from the other side. Silverton Orchards. Anodyne. ” “Where’d you read that, Trieste? ” She took another spoonful of yogurt. “Okay, then,” she said. “There wasn’t great evidence. ” “Sir,” she said. ” She looked at me with her curious eyes. ” IN THE SPRING of 1971, near the end of my sophomore year in high school, I went to work for the Metarey family. It was a life that took me by such swift surprise, I now realize, that within a very short period of time I’d lost track of where I’d come from.
America America by Ethan Canin