We met an engineer diver at a soda

ImageWe met an engineer diver at a soda shop bar, Matty J, he called himself.
Big smiles and a swishy leather jacket, something about him was off. Matty J was big laughs from Phoenix, Arizona. Something like worn wood and spilled beer, a sweaty bar you should only feel in the brisk winter air; imagine feeling that on a sweltering day. And that smell -of something odd and right, in an odd and right place- I associate with Oxford, the town of my birth. Close to the house in Oxford there was a Pub-Inn that smelled like wood and beer, soccer matches, overlapping teeth, there grew an enormous chestnut tree. Chestnuts fell like spiked dinosaur eggs, neon. Chestnuts, my dad said. But they just can’t be! Chestnuts are brown and soft, Don’t people roast them on the fire? These are bright and they bounce when I throw them on the ground, these don’t seem like chestnuts. The tree grew shading a pen with goats groaning on top of a shed, with slit devil eyes (like robots, with manes); I’d feed them and the rabbits grass. The smell of the Pub came in wafts of breeze and inside men cheered, women breastfed, and kids sipped Pimm’s. Matty J smelled like all of that, but he was sitting in a Prospect Heights soda bar next to me, drinking an IPA. His accent was far from an Oxfordshire suckle, but he did have the smile of an unembarrassed British punk.Image(evelyn cameron)Image

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