The Lake by Daniel Villasenor

The Lake by Daniel Villasenor

Author:Daniel Villasenor
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group


Anna had walked to Bayou St. John. Later she would tell him—sitting on the gallery, half the boards of which they had together replaced with the leftover wood from the run-in shed, Zach sitting spraddlelegged against one leaning porchshaft and she juxtaposed on the porch swing, pushing with the sporeblown softness of an exhaling girl the ball of her foot into the boards and rocking, slightly, the other leg tucked under her like a retiring bird, Zach sitting and with a naked razor blade carving the woodresin from the singular hairs of his forearm, one by one, in calm abstraction, trying not to break them off in the process, listening to her voice in tandem with his pointless meditative task (so that he thought for an instant, even as she began to speak, Good, I get to hear that thunk thunk thunk into my body all day tomorrow too), or his body’s muscular exhaustion and satiety—all day he’d quartered and hauled portions of a lightningstruck tree, and that without a chainsaw—in similitude to her voice which was speaking with the calm, the impartite retiring continuity that is duskness, her voice a very duskness, so that he looked up at her and out from time to time as she spoke and saw, as if she herself gave them permission to sleep, the tops of the fading trees—that she had no idea that day over fifteen years ago that she was walking to the woman called Kish. She would tell him that she had just been walking without destination through the hills of the Kisatchie with a throbbing and swollen wrist, west, toward North Toledo Bend and the Sabine and beyond, altogether without purpose, or maybe by the scent of her mother’s ancestral blood, she who had been born north along the Texas border among the Spanish descendants there, maybe by that aroma alone, she would quietly say.

But she had walked. Fifteen years old. She had not even waited for the funeral. With over her shoulders in a wickiupped burlap bag some crackers and already three day old bread and water and venison jerky and an orange and, dangling by her side or cradled in her good hand, a broken wrist. She had started out in the morning, walking in broad daylight down Jollup Avenue through the heart of Marjolaine, northwest, through even the very town square and on a Saturday to boot, though she didn’t even know that, a dozen townsmen and women wishing her with friendly but circumspect distance good morning and their diffident condolences likewise, and she not even turning her head to hear them, to return anything to them, not even her eyes, walking on, churning really, and the town assembling in little adjudicating and already righteous clusters behind her, shaking their heads at her importunate back, muttering to each other that even before what must be the grief and shock of her father’s death there was something degenerate about the girl, even beyond the fact


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