Woman and two kids, dressed in dusty raggedy clothes, carrying little bundles on their backs. Walking down the street, stopping to sing in the hope of coins flung from windows and balconies; asking me, in between lines, for a few too.
And right now, the woman sings Goodnight Irene.
From the way she pronounces the words, from how she runs syllables together so oddly, I guess that she doesn't understand what she sings. But she sings nevertheless.
Sometimes I live in the country,
Sometimes I live in town,
Sometimes I take a great notion,
To jump in the river and drown.
Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight,
Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene,
I'll see you in my dreams.
I stand and watch them stroll, until they turn the corner and I can't see them any more. But I still hear the lilting words, softer now. Goodnight, goodnight.