Then the June road vanished a girl I knew. Down our street, a black truck held the dent in its hood. Nights, I worried through a medical book. Studied the names of fractures—oblique, greenstick, buckle. I learned how to knot a tourniquet.
My friends aspired to see the circus. To watch sequined women fling their bodies toward breathless men who’d catch them. From the driveway, I glimpsed a semi dragging a segment of funhouse off. Saw empty animal cages hauled away.
From the porch, I memorized the older neighbor boy on his skateboard ramp. His flushed face thrust above our fence then disappeared, only to reemerge a few feet over. For days, I counted him to one hundred and back down again.
The front yard oak tree rotted with sudden disease. We gutted its trunk in the dark and packed the wound with wet cement. A scourge of thin, yellow worms writhed in the branches. If you stood back, the leaves moved. If you stepped across the road, the whole thing looked alive.
Ashley Farmer writes and teaches in Southern CA. Recent work can be found in Gigantic, Abjective, elimae, Juked, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere.