Marianna. It came out like a mournful note, like the wind soughing against the bare willow-branches beside frozen river floodlands, changed to playing fields, changed to part of the river in March and April. I looked at him and he looked like me, and my name burst from my lips again, watery, waterfall, wind falling through falling leaves. My name is Marianna. He smiled, a wind-smile, a crooked smile, bent tree-branch like and wavering like the willow wand.
Im Chris, he said. Chris, solid, the heart-wood of an oak, its brown leaves and branches pointing to the sky. It would take all the Renaissance masters to capture the slight curl in his bangs, his oak-green eyes, his curious stance, one leg weighted down with sand, the other stork-like, resting against his tree-trunk calf. And oh, his voice! Terracotta, oak roots, ruined cities still standing,