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February 26, 2007

Out behind the barn, along the dry gray boards of the barn, near the dry gold grasses of late August. Grasshoppers skitter in the weeds. She sits back there for hours, still and quiet, playing with grass stalks.

Five pennies are embedded in the cement floor of the barn entrance. She would like to pry them out but they will not come loose. The cement floor feels cool on her bare legs. Sitting on the cement marks her legs with fine pox. Gray cement dust gets on her clothes. She’s already dirty again.

Dust coats everything in the barn. The heat intensifies the smell of dust. She doesn’t explore. Normally she would explore. She knows there’s a scythe in there, a big old-fashioned hand scythe with a wooden handle. They use it to cut the golden grasses. There’s an old washing machine in there, with a mangle mounted on top. Your hair could get caught in the mangle and yanked right out of your head.

She looks out of the barn. The barn doorway frames the edge of the flower garden. Giddy sprays of gladiola, orange and yellow, start inside the frame and then shoot past it. The gravel driveway curves partly into the frame, then exits.

They’re all inside. Taking naps. Hanging up clothes. Folding clothes. Putting away clothes. Clearing up after food. Making more food. There’s a plate of sliced tomatoes at every meal. Someone is usually crying, starting to cry, or getting over crying. The others talk, but their talk doesn’t draw her. It has no shape and no weight. She doesn’t want to go inside. She doesn’t want to move. The door frame holds her.

She wants to get exactly into the space of the door frame, the space that’s not the barn, the space that’s not the gladiola garden. If she gets there, she can disappear. None of it will matter. The untouched dust. The embedded pennies. The hard eyes. The no words.

by Catherine Ednie of louder

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  1. February 26, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Wonderful, so much emotion evoked with so few words, the exactly right words.

  2. February 27, 2007 at 8:27 am

    Ahh, beautiful. The way the outer world is so extravagently evoked through sense imagery, then the narrative moves suddenly, powerfully inside.

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