Other Seasons

Corralled by cinder blocks and flesh-colored stones, a fire burns in the valley. Flames lap, a wild series of limbs, stirring chain-link shadows. The wind picks up. Embers dispatch into the branches of what I assume are elms. There is no certainty in this light—no facts or accounts of truth. Gestures are violent shifts in weather. The only thing that’s clear is the heat, the smell of smoke and the watery mirage hovering above the flare. Even the children are evanescent. They jettison scraps of wood into the blaze, felt cutouts against the night. Tiny lights flicker on the heel of their sneakers; a band of LED tribesmen.

“I think the summer just ended,” a voice murmurs, displaced, elegiac, considering the alteration of a friend. I recognize the roundness, the shape and timbre, but I can’t connect it to a body.

“I’m inclined to agree.”

More often than not, seasons change like voyages into sleep. Rumors of swimming pools transubstantiate into visions of copper light. These are quiet transitions, like the turn of a pillow or the fusion of a shattered bone. It’s something you wade into. But this autumn chose to elucidate, to make its presence perfectly clear through the haze and sneaker-light. Maybe the fire was a beacon or a kind of moth lure drawing me into the night. Maybe it was an ablution, a metaphor, or the torn wing of a great white ghost. Or maybe it was just a fire, glowing and apodictic, born from an old fence, a wooden chair and fragments of a tree house. Whatever it was, it nebulized the middle of me, propelling my aerosol through the treetops, where I witnessed another summer’s fall.

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