Jan 13, 2016

Corn Fires

Written by Kai Carlson-Wee

Read by Molly Bess Rector

Fields of junked cars. Fields of horses. Fields
of semi-trucks hollowed by time. It looks like
the reason you sailed beyond us, Nik. Riding
whatever was left in your veins. A ripple of heat
running out of the coals in the same way, spilling
the same dank spells on the air. The way smoke
finds your face when there’s no wind to blow it
away. The way bodies find other bodies impossible
not to touch. The way everything gets old, tired
of being what it is. And memory finds us constantly
changing the reasons—light pouring in through
the windows of death’s dark cathedral—infinity,
heroin, driftwood, ash. However you want to
explain it. The night I went back to the ballfields
in Dundas, standing alone in the emptiness there
(the marked yards, vacated bleachers) and took off
my shoes on the roof of your grave, as the flood-
lights went brighter, making that giant design more
complete, more lost in the purpose of duty. And
the reason these lyrics still stand in my mind, however
distorted by grief and time, by not understanding
the words. And the reason I’m wasting this weekend
without you, walking around on these backcountry
roads, going nowhere, watching the corn fires fade
to a heatwave, burn to a black carpet, to shriveled
hairs crushed to a fine nothing, a powdered ash,
a peeling of smoke rising up from my bootsoles.
Doing a little dance, stabbing a stick in the ground.

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