Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 124 in September, 2010.
1936. It goes Jasper, Pop, Malcolm. Malcolm's still around, you guess. He's six in this snapshot. In first grade. Pop's twelve. In seventh. Look at those trousers and that belt. Is Pop smiling? Is Jasper? Jasper's fourteen. Jasper's got a watch on. Pop's the only one wearing shined shoes. You remember all his shined shoes. Your mom gave them away first. Size twelve. Loafers. Wingtips. Brogans. That damned sun's right in their faces. My grandfather'd moved them all over the state. There were three girls too, Georgia, Leone, and Marianne. I don't have a snapshot of the three sisters. I went up and took my own of this house. It's got no hedge anymore. It's pretty shabby-looking. It's right across the street from Stanford University. These boys had picked cotton, strawberries, artichokes, cherries. Their father'd worked for a year on an oil field on Signal Hill, down near Long Beach. Pop was born in Long Beach. His name was Joy Petersen. He changed it to Jay. Pop's middle name was Alend. He changed it to Alan. He stuttered. He drank too. He drank a lot. Malcolm was hospitalized for it. Jasper likes to know what time it is. Those're Jasper's old trousers Pop's got on. He's not wearing Jasper's old shoes.