Everything Was Blowing in the Wind
Lydia Copeland

I ran up the side-walked hill when you asked. You had a buzz cut and wore an oversized green coat with down feathers quilted inside. Once you put your finger inside my finger to stop the bleeding. Once we fell asleep in your parents' bed with the sound of their dream machine looping train tracks. I hid in one of my father's empty classrooms and cried into a wood desk. My father walked in, stood in front of the chalkboard with a can of Sprite in his hand and a silk tie beneath his collar. He said I had some explaining to do. The blinds were drawn. All around us there were deciduous trees stripped from the mountains, mulberries and lyre-leaf-sage. Milkweed in a darkening sky. And stalks of wheat. Everything was blowing in the wind. That night I listened to my mother's tape of folk music in the car and thought about how words are just words, and you should say them without agony, without sorrow or song in your voice, just straight and sober. The next day, I had a speech in my head. In the closet mirror I prepared to recite it to you like an oath, looking into your face, eyes open all the way, hand on heart. I didn't know you'd forget to speak to me again for the rest of your life. I didn't know I'd be in New Jersey one day and find only an herb garden in the concrete, and there you'd be on a farm somewhere, remarried and floating down a river with your country son.

Lydia Copeland's collection of shorts, Haircut Stories, is just out from the Achilles Chapbook Series.

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200903wind.htm

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of stttijn.

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