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America America by Ethan Canin

By Ethan Canin

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I’m Grange Sifter,” he said when he stood. And a little more than a decade later, when my father had returned to Saline, Anna Bainbridge Sifter—after a stillbirth and a late miscarriage of twins—had me. IT WAS AT THE GROTON NAVY YARD, where he was posted after his tour on the USS Louisville, that my father first gained the attention of one of Liam Metarey’s foremen, and from the day he returned to Saline, his work was on Metarey rentals. The rentals were solid, handsome houses in a way that seems to have vanished today in all but the most genteel neighborhoods, with deep front porches shaded by red oaks, corniced eaves that formed rain shadows around the foundations, and signature brick steps in a diamond pattern bordered in herringbone.

Until the end of the Second World War, both Saline and the Metarey family prospered. The town’s stately central square started at the wide marble steps of a Greek-columned library bearing Eoghan Metarey’s name, and its walks were lit by cast-bronze gaslights bearing the name of his foundry. Across the street the public park was divided in two by the brook he had dug, its pumped water tumbling all spring and summer over a set of falls that had been carved from his granite. The downtown was six blocks long and by virtue of the Metarey quarries exhibited the elegant, stone-fronted façade of a good-sized city.

She set her books down beside the path. “Or it might not be. ” I shrugged. She looked at me. “You’re different from the rest,” she said. ” I looked away. “You are. You’re different from the other boys. ” Then she took hold of one of the pillars and swung herself up onto the ledge. ” “No. Not for the lemonade. ” I did, and she put them underneath her to sit. “Bad trouble, too,” she said. ” She pointed behind us. ” I turned. On the far side of the row of spruces, two men were moving alongside one of the garages.

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