Five Points, Vol. 3 No. 1

Fall 1998

From Ellen Bryant Voigt: “We have a huge appetite for order; that’s part of the human animal. We love form of any kind. We just want it, and we want it to continue.”

Sample Content

Kathleen Hirsch

from A Home in the Heart of a City

Saturday’s come around, and the tables are sitting up on the black top like old courtesans at tea draped in scarves and dubious silver, solicitous of the shade of off-hours and venerable town halls. Around them retainers cluck and fuss. They mutter prices and cautions to the first, familiar bargain hunters, out early to sample the week’s wares.

Wares? More like revelations, these floating continents of memory. Life here flows from betrayal to discovery at hands that have sorted through old cups and found the cracked ones wanting, who yield up Grandmother’s hat pins for a song. The early birds poke and glean, shifting through brooches and old buttons in the silt of a city’s age.

Antiquity of no particular pedigree is scattered up and down the main streets of Jamaica Plain, and no one yet would dream of depositing it to the secondary ways. Thrift shops dot every block, and it is no small measure of the pleasure of belonging here that one can ramble into half a dozen of them in as many blocks because the rents are still low enough for their essential repositories.