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But the light changes, seems to bend to the will of her instincts, lessening in intensity. Swears she hears it buzz and snap.

Review: ‘Song of the Shank’ gives poetic voice to a unique American musician

She starts out through the grass—tom keeps the lawn low and neat, never permitting the grass to rise higher than the ankles—her feet unexpectedly alert and flexible across the soft ground under her stabbing heels, no earthly sense of body. Winded and dizzy, she finds herself right in the middle of the oval turnaround between the house and the long macadam road that divides the lawn.

Charming really, her effort, she thinks. Still enough illumination for a more thorough search. Had she missed the signs earlier? What has she done the entire day other than get some shut-eye? A catalog of absent hours. Imagine a woman of a mere twenty-five years sleeping the day away.

She is the oldest twenty-five-year-old in the world. After Tom quit the house, she spent the morning putting away the breakfast dishes, gathering up this and that, packing luggage, orbiting through a single constellation of activities—labor sets its own schedule and pace—only to return to her room and seat herself on the bed, shod feet planted against the floor, palms folded over knees, watching the minute lines of green veins flowing along the back of her hands, Eliza contemplating what else she might do about the estate, lost in meditation so that she would not have to think about returning to the city, a longing and a fear.

She dreaded telling tom that this would be their last week in the country but knowing from experience that she must tell him, slow and somber, letting the words take, upon his return to the house for lunch; only fair that she give him a full week to digest the news, vent his feelings—in whatever shape and form—and yield. It takes considerable focus for her to summon up sufficient will and guilt to start out on a second search.

Where should she begin? A thousand acres or more. She comes around the barn—the horse breathing behind the stall in hay-filled darkness, like a nervous actor waiting to take the stage— dress hem swaying against her ankles, only to realize that she has lost her straw hat. A brief survey pinpoints it a good distance away, nesting in a ten-foot-high branch.

She starts for it—how will she reach that high? His skin has a deeper appetite for light than most.

The “Missing” Chapter from SONG OF THE SHANK

He has been having his fun with her, playing possum—he moves from tree to tree—his lips quivering with excitement, smiling white teeth popping out of pink mouth. He turns her fingers palm up like a palmist reading her hand. Pulls and leads her back to the front door of the house, bypassing the back entrance.

Because his eyes are lidded over, all the energy in his face is in mouth and jaw. Eyes are globes that map the feelings of the face. He grasps the door handle as if it is a butterfly—delicately, barely touching it with his fingers—pushes the door open, and with a great show of strength turns to carry her inside, lifting her high above the ground, overestimating, throwing her face momentarily into his black cap of kinky hair.


She hooks both arms around his thick neck, ringed with sweat, for the ride. Her body against his, she can feel his heart beating rapidly beneath his damp shirt. He takes time to wipe the bottom of his feet against the hemp doormat, one foot after the other, again and again, Eliza stilled in air. They flutter in. He almost drops her when he is setting her down. In the act of balancing she detects a faint scent in the room, the smell of tobacco.

Someone has been in the house. Might still be in the house.

She latches the door while tom, sensing nothing, dizzy with the scent of pollen on his hands, grass on his feet, whistling—always a tune buried under his breath—hurries over to the piano—his feet slide like dry leaves over the carpeted floor—which squats like a large black toad in the sitting room. He takes a seat on the bench, removes his hankie from his back pocket, and cleans his face.

Song of the Shank by Jeffery Renard Allen -

Returns the hankie and brings his hands to the keyboard, his long fingers fanning out in excitement. Begins playing, his routine, discipline of pleasure. How quietly she goes above the music rising up from downstairs; she feels lighthearted, competent, in a situation she knows she can handle. Characteristics: pages : illustrations ; 23 cm. From the critics. Comment Add a Comment. Like 1 like. Age Add Age Suitability. Summary Add a Summary. Notices Add Notices. Quotes Add a Quote.

Oliver and Seven are devastated by the loss of Tom. He puts money upfront and offers the bulk of the payment when the contracts are signed. Although Mr. Gross meets alone; General Bethune brings his lawyer, Mr.

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Geryon; the stage manager, Mr. Warhurst; the pastor, Reverend H. Frye; and the medical specialist, Dr. Although negotiations go better than Mr. Gross could have hoped, they sign contracts and transfer money, and they agree upon a location to trade Tom, himself. General Bethune has the money, but on the day that he is to bring Tom to Mr. Gross, he sends his lawyer saying that they found illegal activity in Mr. Eliza was the house matron who met Sharpe when Sharpe offered for Tom to give a concert for the patients in the asylum.

At that time, Tom was being cared for by Sharpe and his stage manager, Thomas Warhurst. She is the sole caretaker at that time. He promises her a reunion with her long-lost son, Tom. Although she is there for several weeks before actually seeing Tom, he is eventually brought to her. While Charity is waiting at Edgemere, Tabbs Gross returns to New York City where he has discovers that Eliza lives with Tom in an apartment after she has been staying in the country, basically hiding Tom from the world.

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Tabbs goes to their apartment, tells Eliza that he is there to get Tom and return him to his mother since he is now a free man. Exhausted from the non-stop care of Tom and her feelings of isolation from the world, she lets him go. At Edgemere, Tom refuses to play music and is very cold to his own mother for quite some time. Both are overtaken by the angry whites on the train. Eliza and Tom make it to their southern destination where they live in seclusion until the beautiful mysterious music coming from their apartment eventually comes to a stop.

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