THE BOY held onto his father’s clothing as the train rolled around a bend. Everything looked dusted with gold. Black train tracks, flatcars on a siding, a low row of weather-beaten green houses with tar paper rooftops, the shadows of screened windows behind picket fences. He could see the city glinting on hillsides in the distance. Like some fabled city in an old country, temples roofed in gold. As the train slowed, his father jumped onto the gravel and in almost the same motion plucked his mother and the baby, his hand closing over the boy’s as he called for him to jump. The rocks hurt the boy’s feet and the sun was hot. The train blew by in a big noise for a long time and then faded away. “We’re home,” his father sighed as they walked toward unshaded boxcars down a dusty embankment. And the boy felt inside his stomach a warm lonely pain he thought must be love. A line of laundry fluttered from a boxcar to the fence.
City Terrace Field Manual