A species of weevil we had not seen before had infested the millet. The clouds drifting by that year were a strange bunch, speaking a language we had not heard clouds speak before. “Where did those banditos hide the backhoe they stole from Cullen’s?” asked Clutter Joe, but the clouds only replied “Cavor efti mo?” That was the summer I spent in the company of Mazie Winterbottom, a preternaturally sad girl, who let me touch her breast under the pear trees. She fled to the barn to cry quietly. The sheep busted out through a hole in the pen. They saw how large and insensible the world is. They went back all by themselves. Someone left a combine in the cornrows. I heard wild hogs in the hay. Clutter and I mucked out the slough and fixed the fencing around the Holfern place, and all the while we didn’t say a word to each other. That is really the best kind of language, the kind free of x’s and o’s, with only the occasional hoik-and-spit for syntax.