Where Birds Do Not Fly

1985

The sun had just set but the light still sang a February pink at the edges of the sky. It hummed its special song to the bare-branched trees that canopied the Barnum neighborhood. The trees stood over cinder-block houses and trucks parked in driveways. They stretched over peeling roofs and dogs curled up by back doors, over houses with people leaned back in recliners looking over socked feet at the nightly news on the television. The sky sang over them in pink hues that were turning a deep blue but the people did not notice. They lived in the small cinder-block and cement houses that had been built on the fly by P. T. Barnum a hundred years ago to house his circus workers, to winter his circus animals, and he had lined the crooked streets with Chinese elms and a patchwork of sidewalks.
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