I am caught between the paneling and sheetrock in my parents’ bedroom. It has been many days. Well, here time goes unbraiding itself; there’s no telling. I am myself. I am myself at six. There is a tin soldier beside me. I mean no melodrama. I am stating the facts. It is some other boy’s tin soldier. Only when there is lightning insistent as nails through the knotholes may I see his edges. One day my parents walk into the room, just as the many other times they have done, go walking on their legs and feet in shoes too old for them to be wearing; they spend nothing on themselves. This day they speak, and I have forgotten their language. It is only their timbres precise and precious; I gnash upon with my baby teeth, small as curds. This is a new thing. I chew and soon if I can manage I will chew tin, imitating the people on the other side of the wall, the sounds they make. I think: We are all chewing on metal now in this new world. But it doesn’t mean anything.