When I was young they had already been abandoned for years overgrown with sumac and sour apple, the iron scrapped, the wood long gone for other things. In summer my father would send us along them to fetch the cows from the back pasture, a long walk to a far off place it seemed for boys so young. Lost again for a moment in that simple place, I fling apples from a stick and look for snakes in the gullies. There is a music to the past, the sweet tones of perfect octaves even though we know it was never so. My father had to sell the farm in that near perfect time and once old Al Shott killed a six foot rattler on the tracks. "And when the trolly was running" he said, "you could jump her as she went by and ride all the way to Cleveland, and oh," he said, "what a time you could have there."
From Endangered Species by Robert Kinsley. Copyright © 1998 by Robert Kinsley. Reprinted with the permission of the author and Orchises Press. All rights reserved.