The Fireworks Maker of Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri

By | 15 July 2006

Light suffuses these hills, ungraspable, consumed by corn and watermelon. Morning fog presses long contusions on the light. There are days, many days, I think it's not a human sustenance, this sun of empty hours, shafts leaching all it falls upon–the algaed pond sucked, saturation drawn from cotton drapes you turn between the seasons–the way a girl turns to tan her body whole on summer grass. Light so slow that it could kill a girl, if she allowed it.

Come fall last year, and sitting on the stoop and whittling wood with knives so quick and sharp they cut their own light, I figured on the floor a Chinese pictograph. Then I heard the far gunshots that tell a deer's death. Well, there's a light that's not the shine of corn half-sunk in irrigation, but a many-starred, shattered self-consuming –.

I build these gaudy rockets so that kids might remember, when they've got their own kids, and their nights begin to feather down like so much ash that says the forest's burning in a neighboring county, and the moon's light burns their dreams a little, too: there was a man who knew, who made their dearest harm from light.


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