25

In Savannah, enjoying a waffle—lemon curd & raspberries—at Mirabelle, where a friend works part-time. Outside, at a very French table, the sun blazes in and out behind clouds. I would like more clouds. Sidewalk palm tree drooping a bit. Listless. Can’t imagine summers here. Enormous double-spire cathedral across the street—St. John the Baptist. Tourists sitting on its steps looking at maps, looking at phones, thinking about where to next, what next to do, pointing in one direction then another. Tourists on this side of the street taking pictures of the cathedral and the people on its steps with phone and camera-phone. Crowds flowing into and out of it like breath. The cathedral breathing them in, breathing them out changed. Another memory to be forgotten, pictures taken to keep the memory vaguely fresh, mildly stale, preferably not molded or forgotten completely (but what harm in forgetting?). A woman stands by a wrought-iron gate in a wall surrounding a compound next to the cathedral, looking lost and impatient. A couple of vagabonds walk by: he, smoking a cigarette, and she, carrying a gallon of water, backpack on, walking her—their?—dog. Horse-drawn carriages moseying along the streets. Tourists. Larger trolleys—the people inside, heads turning one way and then the other, curious, confused—doing the same thing, a disembodied voice pointing out something or another, garbled, nebulous, impossible to make out, emanating from its general vicinity. Tourists, tourists everywhere. The streets and sidewalks are saturated with them. They’ve been swept in by the late March tides and who knows when they’ll be swept out again. I talk like I am a local, yet I am anything but. I am a ghost. I go by unnoticed, unremarked. I am that stone bench which nobody sits on. When I leave there will be no trace, because I was never there. Nor am I here. The stone bench will turn to dust, and the cathedral will crumble, but I will remain.

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