Building 45

Literary/Arts Journal

The Days that Followed

by Clarence Barela

Paul Hammond-ing it, which, as was detailed in Mother's memoirs
before she died, was the makeshift verb that meant to drink too much,
and to be sad for the days that followed. Paul Hammond, who was my

brother and who had become a verb, had inherited the bottle from our
father and had kept it as his lips like a syphon for much of his life. After
the accident, he came to stay with us at my home upstate, where my

children would wonder why he cried. Incidentally, another detail from
mother's memoirs was me and Paul as children. At night we used to go
out to her car with the moon-roof and trace lines in the stars, and when

I got scared he would crack the door just enough so the dome-light would
come on. I try to remember that when I go to visit him. When he talks about
this sadness in his gut like those days that followed, but it doesn't ever end,

not like it used to. The last line in our mother's memoirs was scribbled on a
page by itself. It said, Some sons inherit the stars; some the burned out ones—
I guess that's right, though, you wouldn't know it, having seen their light.