Laura Carter

And Finally It Has Come to This. And Finally It Has Come to These Things.

We were sowing seeds in a huddle. The partridge was luminous, and I glanced at his toupee and laughed with the heart of a child. We were. We are. The story begins with a hint of light from the edge of the page, the narrative's mind wiped clean by the interior fire. And then, and then. How many years have we waited to say the words. She. He. Us. The people. How many times have we desired to know? All of us. The sources of much trauma and grief, going knock-kneed in the dark at night, playing with other colors and glories by day. I was wearing the beautiful shirt, you know the one. We were tired. We worked, we went to bed, we got up and worked again. The players, the hoods, the revelers. Someone said we must be violet to be so green. Someone said we must be eerie to be so care. I didn't know. Did you? Before we could decide on a common language, our brothers and sisters came upon us and wandered with us in the forest, without suspicion. And so. And then. We were afraid of speech (transformations). There was no word in the beginning to draw us to itself, to take us to the place where we could be alive with sight and sound. I cut a flower out. So did you. We drew in our stenciled hairpieces to wear to the market. The parrots. All of them. So loud! We were joyful, but without peace when the music stopped. The music continued for many long mornings. The president wrote us letters signed in blood and tears. We tore up the letters and then built bigger buildings to collapse inside of. Someone said we had been found. I cried. You smiled. We found ourselves in a long story but without the changes that we had anticipated. Each one was half and whole, half and whole. The marriage. The wedding of the fire and water happened higher up than the changes had. And then, and then. There was a crown. A man wore it every day and night. We tried to steal the crown. We wanted the crown. The neighbors played games around the crown when they could pretend they owned it. It was a fake crown. We bought paper crowns and kissed each other in the sun. We thought we were orange but not sherbet. Someone paid their father to win the crown in a raffle. The father won the crown, and then he gave it to the son. The children wore the crown. The children broke the crown into pieces and each wore a piece. The crown gradually disintegrated into soil. Red clay. The crown was dull, vanquished, broken. The crown rolled down the hill where the president sat watching the children pretend. The crown was afire! And then, and then. The next move was to steal the pieces of the crown and turn them to ribbons. What color were the ribbons. I could not see the ribbons in our hair, but I felt them. I glanced over the telephone wires and made a picture. The picture was un-painted. The ball was fresh. The crown. The ball was in our hands. The story was over. The ball was out of our hands again. The ball, the crown, the fire. The story. Tell me a story, again. The grass, the trees, the elemental, colliding at dusk in a light.

colliding into the sun

and then given

Laura Carter lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia, where she curates the Sun & Moon Reading Series in East Atlanta. She earned her M.F.A. from Georgia State University in 2007.