My mother says the grass must be burned. It’s the way of the prairie. New grass will come, thick and green, it will sustain new life, grazers and insects alike, she says, but the fire does more than just this. My mother understands, how I feel most at home when the flames trace the slope of the hills with their wild arms waving. I wave back from my bedroom window. They watch over me. Nothing can hide in the dark when it is burning season in Kansas. We watch all the landscape dance around us, with us, the smoke stretched to the clouds.
The first night it rained cats and dogs,we were terrified. A Doberman shattered the neighbor’s windshield;
the highways were covered in blood and glass.There were 19 fatalities, not counting the rain. We cannot think of them as animals anymore.
It’s harder to stomach when we do.When they hit the ground, you can hear their bones snapping.
The sound is so violent it shakes the house.We never grow comfortable with it. No one talks of the rain at dinner,
we talk about books and baseball, hopingthe library reopens when the season...
I think a great idea to explore would be the benefits of fire, especially to a prairie ecosystem. I live in Kansas, where the Spring months are full of smoke and charred Earth. The farmers are all burning their fields and the prairie too. Plenty of ecosystems use fire, but it's more prominent and possibly even most important in the prairie. As plants die and decay, the grazing animals must work harder at foraging, trees and woody bushes take root and grow larger, taking more sunlight from the already struggling plants, and the best...
INT. Living Room – Evening
A tall, slender man enters the room. He is balding, long limbed and wearing a sweater vest and loafers. He turns off a lamp near the door. He pulls the curtains together, keeping the last of the daylight out. Finally, he shuts an overhead light off and eases into a rocking chair.
THE DARK:“Hello, old friend.”
There is no one visible in the room other than the man. The silhouette of the man in his chair can be seen rocking gently back and forth in the chair.
MAN: “How are you?”
THE DARK: “Quite alright, as well as...
Timothy arrives at a Halloween party in no discernible costume.
Girl dressed as cat: “And what are you supposed to be?”Timothy: “An empty vessel afloat in a sea of hopelessness, awaiting only my inevitable capsizing”Girl raises an eyebrow and swiftly walks away.
Timothy in art class
Teacher: “Timothy, please show us your self portrait now?”He reveals a canvas painted completely black, he appears, at least in a way only Timothy can, pleased.Teacher: “I don’t see you in this portrait…..well, perhaps I do [she shrugs] C+.”
We see a bedroom...
1. We played finger gunslingers every weekend, the thick brush and limestone through the orchard our battleground. We filled the bowls of our sweatshirts with pine cone grenades. We were young backyard ballistics experts, big brother bully fellers, three foot terrors. No one cried mama, just licked the blood from their knuckles and kept shooting.
2. A woman is murdered two towns over. The slabs of limestone are overgrown with moss. The only thing her killer leaves is a footprint and her body.
3. The neighbors put NRA Membership stickers...
It rose from the wood the morningshe died. When her final breathleft her body, it rang throughthe walls of my parents’ house.
We lied awake in our beds, notwanting to move, not speaking.Only watching the sound of itbounce against the walls,
a thin white arrow falling to restin the soft places between our ribs.Some evenings I walk past it nowand press the key as gently
as it allows me. Her breath climbsover my...
that buried betweenthe bones of my bodyare rockets aimedat the sun,
that this sun cannever harm mewhen I am this big, when I am billions
of light years talland my wings bigger yet,that there are moons
orbiting the spacebetween my arms,and how could I forget
that this is devastatingtoo, that I kissed herbefore I knew what
I was capable of.
Not bad. You, uhh, sound nice.
Thanks, you too.
I would imagine you look nice as well, probably
New blouse, I like it.
This is just a little weird, right? A bit?
I mean, it’s a weird blinddate, right?
I don’t follow…
Usually, a blinddate means not having seen the person you’re meeting until you actually go on a date with them, but we’re here now, in this beautiful restaurant and I still have no idea what you look like.
I go on dates like this all the time, seems pretty normal.
Huh, really? Seriously?
We snuck our first drink when mother wasn’twatching, her cup half empty, cold and unattended. That inaugural sip made us shudder, filled our mouths with soot and soil soaked pisswater. We thought our tongues were dead leaves.We kept our distance from it for a few more years after that.
We got older and eased into it, warmed our bellieswith sugary brews that sounded like cupcakes and rodeos, caramel apple chai and tall skinny half-cafs with a whip. We gave street names to the strong stuff, like java and perk, we knew it every language.
I was taught that a man’s worth is measured by the strength of his handshake. My uncle made the biggest men wince with every introduction and greeting. His hands were hard, forged by years of dirt and dust only acquired through long hours of work without enough breaks to catch his breath. He wasn’t large in stature, but his limbs were thick and muscular, his eyes small, but bright and blue. He never had much to say, but always plenty to do.
As a boy, I spent afternoons in the summer working beside him. I swore I saw him grow stronger...