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Stiff, thick: the white hair of the broad-faced father,who leads his shambling son alongcracked sidewalks, by dusty glass half hidinggoods never sold. The son is the taller onebut still a child: not aware of his clothes,of what expressions seize on his soft face.His gait lolls, loosely directed from some weak,distant center, scarcely devoted to any purposebut following along and looking. Thick lenses glintwith watery blue: his small eyes, veiledand placid, as far off as the milky August sky.The father, all the time glancing at him and talkingas man to man, seems to forget it would be betterfor this one to have been like all the rest.He has his son still with him, the othershave grown up and gone away -- but when he dies,then what will happen to the boy? Even this thoughtis absorbed now in their ordinary errand,men's business: grateful going out through the day,talk with the owners, the salesmen, a mechanicin the scent of grease and sawdust of machined metal,the sifting through tools and parts that flow, spill, gleamlike seeds, like sand -- looking for what fits,finding what will work. Afterwards to stop for food,then walk back home down the clear streets, when starlings,hunting and restless before sleep, and childrenare the loudest things, with the dark foamingamong maples, glinting, as it comes in.

© Moritz Albert Frank