No, he tells me. You’re thinking of Granite.

Gypsum would be easily ground to dust.

At first, the rupture — is beautiful. A calcified surface cleaves, exposing its sanguine and vitreous innards. Interbedded lime and salt, co-dependently laminated in layers.

Then broken. Once more. And made into Paris. Extracted from the comfortable weight of saline basins and transformed into false ceilings — scratched easily by the fingernail. Making weekend appearances in midday matinees with the local theater troupe costumed as wood or metal or a previous version of — itself.

Nearly every wall in America is made of Gypsum.

My father would know.

I scrubbed the paste of blood and drywall from his knuckles the night she threw her wedding ring. Putty knives and spackle paint — a pastime of ours.

Step one: Apply fist-sized mesh patch to face with firm pressure. Giggle at scaly


Step two: Rub pea-sized amount of putty between fingers. Create a family of small, white worms.

Step three: Wait impatiently. Blow dry.

Step four: Sand hardened waves and watch become snow.

Step five: Shake bottle of spackle close to ear and listen for metal bead (as if a chilled Guinness can found hidden in the vegetable drawer.)

Step six: Slowly — carefully hammer thin nail into edge of memory.

Step seven: Hang school portrait.

I call him when I have questions. All kinds of questions. And sometimes — questions about if that annoying bit between the living and dining in my new home contains a load-bearing wall. Because my father would know. He always knows. His encyclopedic mind flips through pages of dog-eared matter — memories. They’re a pastime of ours.