Something about wet two-by-fours feels like home. Xe sits on a bench, wet from morning dew and mist, on a boardwalk overlooking a pond. Two mallards paddle in front of xem— a slow game of tag or awkward flirting, xe aren’t sure. Soft croaks from red-legged frogs emanate from the kinnikinnik covering the ground. Xe could breathe here.
The frozen dew of February stands in the shadow of towering firs. The sun rises slowly in the southern clouds, and shadows recede. An edge of bright frost curves with the shadow along the shoulder of Kersey Way, not realizing it was time to go.
I get that my dad has to do all these stupid ceremonies; he’s the king, la-di-da. But, does that really mean I have to go to the things too? It’s not my kingdom— would it still be a kingdom if I ruled it? A queendom? Anyway, I’m not the ruler; I shouldn’t have to go to this drawn-out, fuddy-duddy event to celebrate the bicentennial of some old tavern with good hash browns. ‘It’s a landmark, blah blah blah, good for the economy, blah blah blah, boosts the morale of the citizenry, blah blah. The optics, Aerith, the OPTICS.’ Can’t you go in my place? You look just like me. You just need to get up on the stage or whatever, give some speech, point at that old dwarven guy, then leave. Ten minutes, tops. Ugh. His council probably expects some gaudy centerpiece for their table to project how important they are. Forgot about that. You can probably find something cheap at the market if you hurry.
I’ve haunted this temple since the day you were born, the day I died bringing you here. I’ve hid behind alters and candle flames, above rafters, under pews, to watch you grow into a man. I’ve tried to not interfere, let you bloom like wild sage, but sometimes I have failed. I’ve never felt a pain— while living, at least— comparable to seeing you hurt.
I've heard people say Pelor is here— breathing our air, walking our pews. I’ve spent my life reading His words, preaching His teachings. I’ve never wavered. But, I’ve always wondered why He took my parents away before I ever knew them; why I was chosen for this temple; why, in His wisdom, He chose to take my ability to move my legs.
In the canvas of the overcast sky, there are blurry molecules or curly hairs floating. Through a stye on the underside of my eyelid, the streetlights look like they’re crying. In the evening after a full day’s work, trapped photons bounce around inside my eyelids. Through dilated pupils after being prescribed readers, the Christmas tree lights look like a wall of frozen explosions.
Inevitably, the universe will end; electrons will no longer spin around nuclei, and everything will stop. But before that, the Milk Way will be consumed by the blackhole at its core, leaving only void in its wake. But before that, the sun will swallow Earth as it grows into a red giant and explodes. But before that, living on Earth will no longer be sustainable; temperatures and sea levels will rise beyond the point of any coping mechanisms. But before that, you will die; a small tragedy on the scale of things, but a tragedy nonetheless.
mid april after a cold snap their trunks twisted agony branches desperately reach a merciless blue sky amber leaves on cold earth
i sped down the highway standing in my kitchen my heart a crash test dummy’s head bouncing off the windshield phone in hand a ghost escaped the teakettle the ringtone layered sirens from emergency vehicles your name strobing lights from a police car phone dropped to the floor waves across the lake surface
old north wind rattles leaves from their stems grey feathers line my jaw and ears who cooks for you? who cooks for you-all? full moon rises my talons itch i call out to the shadows only hear echos who cooks for you? who cooks for you-all? a splash near the riverbed a bob of an alder branch a twitch in the undergrowth a corpse by the highway who cooks for you? who cooks for you-all?