Gracelandrnby Jim HenleyrnFour Irishmen sat atop a cutbankrnin Memphis, above the Interstaternthat bordered the Mississippi. Cars,rntrueks, the occasional bus,rnheadlights acknowledging the winter dusk,rnthumped rush hour syncopationrnacross a steel plate. A lighted bargernforged the winter-thick river,rnsharding mirrored twilight and the lightsrnfrom a downtown bridge. Smoke from a plantrnin Arkansas almost blendedrnwith the ragged nimbus (a New Yorkrnmemory: smoke signals—their source a manrntossing on a grate, his humid beddingrnpunctuating the flow of steam).rn”Daughter of Waters, really,” one said.rn”All the streams of Americarngive birth to her.” “G’wan,” the others jeered,rnbut they knew what he meant: “This is the world.rnHe pulled a cigarette from his hat.rnThe dark prairie somewhere westrncould hold all Europe. You could unrollrnthe knot that is Ireland and sinkrnit the length of the river, stringrnit right past Memphis here. The man in the hatrntobogganed down the dead grass on his buttrnto the shoulder of the Interstate.rnSeabirds had wandered this far northrnto peck at things of interestrnalong the median strip.rnNOVEMBER 1992/15rnrnrn