by Melissa Walker
The story begins, but no, the story begins further back,
in a grain silo in Illinois, cornfields on three sides and train tracks along the road. More cornfields beyond. You wouldn’t understand.
(The way this land with its lines that go out forever can pin you in and trap you, make it so you can never leave. You wouldn’t understand the way day breaks and opens up fresh and you think This day could be different, No, This is different. This is like nothing before. But sooner or later the sun will become sharp and you will turn the tv on and wash last night’s dishes, and eat another bowl of cereal and begin to think about the laundry.)
Six times she left and every time she came back she came back because his face still lit up when he was happy. She returned because he cried, the man cried on the phone, and because when his mother died, he cried for a week.
She went back because it was hot and she loved the way this heat pressed down on her she loved the sound of crickets and kids playing at the swimming pool across the park she went
back because he was her own and, out of all that she did not want, he had been the one thing that she did,
The story starts in a field in Illinois. It starts with the earth turning fresh black soil and new corn every year, it starts with her brother’s far away voice and her mother who never smiled and her father who was kind but recoiled as if each touch were a slap.
It started back before that with the mother who did not want the two to marry and
it starts back beyond that and circles around to a girl who hides in her room when the two are fighting, who walks out into the houses, out past everything, to the fields.
The story starts in a grain silo,
high up in the fields,
where the lines go out forever.