Reading Response #1

Dillard is a very clear writer. She writes about place, not only geographically, but insightful to the time of her youth. Her description of Squirrel Hill is funny, descript, and telling of the location.

My childhood was very different from Dillard’s, as we grew up a couple of years apart. I was more of an independent child. I mostly played video games inside. If I did go outside to play, it was never to chase a cruse. I would make up a game to play by myself. My parents didn’t have very much money, so my father never bought a boat. Also, I grew up in a very small town, not a growing city.

the lord’s boiler room

                                                                          Saint Patrick’s Church, Pittsburg, PA

parish founded in 1808.

built in 1936,

but there’s signs

that tell ignorant’s

not a eat or drink

while not sitting

on holy chairs.

black radiator

affixed to the wall,

covered by a praying

desk. i’m not sure

on the name, but it’s

the thing with the pillows,

metal structure that

a follower would

kneel upon to pray

out the window, or

to the black radiator.

calling for warmth in

the 87-cent notebook.

pages filled with blue

ink. saying, lord, thank

you for everything. thank

you for the warmth. they’re

thanking the wrong person.

the lord has a boiler room,

and the man giving them

warmth works in it.

checking dials.

Sushi Dispatcher

He says he’s made sushi for 30 years. Long enough, he says. I want to ask him long enough for what. To know when you’re under and need more help? Or to want to leave Wholey’s fish market forever? Live in a warmer climate during the winter months. Travel to beaches or cities he’s never been to before. Or just, finally, stop touching raw fish.
The dynamite roll was premade, only needing to be chopped up. He made the Wholey roll. He made love with his hands. Molding each piece of fish into six-inch rolls, cutting them into eight bite-sized pieces. Squeezing various colors of sauced accouterments. He closes the Styrofoam box, adds up the bill, and gives me my change. All in under 10 minutes.
Wholey’s, the fish market he’s lived in for, assumedly, for 30 years, is packed on the weekends. He’s the first person you’d see. Almost like a dispatcher on an old taxi show. Taking orders from behind a counter. His tools: knives, rice, mat roller, and tobiko. The lines. The lines everywhere. The one to the hot food and sushi dispatch parallel leading to the left. His line starting first and further back. A mirrored L with a long top.
There is a market attached to his freshness. A mouth breather could taste this quality on their tongue. Fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, all fresh, all underneath a ceiling lined with a model train. The train wasn’t there when they opened in 1912, neither was he. Everyone knows the train, everyone knows Wholey’s, and everyone knows him.
Some just come for the sushi, they must, or to see him work so quickly, giving a product like none other. It matters here. He matters here.

about the blog

Hello! I’m from western Pennsylvania. I’ve been writing for almost two years. I plan to keep writing until the thoughts stop. This blog will be a mixture of creative work and near-journalism, all pertaining to travel. And pigeons, can’t forget the pigeons.