09 August 2013


It was in August, I think, that I collected the locusts' shells I'd found out back, stuck to the locust tree. So many Augusts my sister and step-mother had to share a single sheet cake. They hated sharing a birthday, but never said so, only brooded the day of, and tried to manage not-pained smiles for the camera (never achieved), as they held the cake together at a tilt, posing in the backyard of the old house. August: the month my father remarried 18 months after my mother had died inside that same old house. August: the month we sat on folding chairs in the garage to watch the rain come down, the garage my mother had died in. August: the month we got the mutt from the softball park, the month he sat on my feet as I sat in a folding chair in the garage to watch the rain come down. August: my birthday month, sad month, birth story gone. August: burgers and ice cream, corn on the cob, working on Dad's farm, rides in Grandpa's truck bed, one fist shoved inside a Cracker Jack box, desperate for jokes. When I picked the locusts' shells from the locust tree, I thought the locusts had come from the tree itself, squeezed out of the trunk somehow, because why else would a locust tree be called a locust tree? I lined up twenty or so shells on the bedroom dresser I got after my mother had died, and my step-mother had talked my dad into letting me redecorate my bedroom. So delicate. Hours I held the shells up to the light. I couldn't figure where the locusts had exited their own skin. Where did they come from, and where did they go? August: the month I drove drunk on back roads as a teenager, wending lazy esses all the way home, hoping against hope that Dad wouldn't be awake when I walked in. He wouldn't. He was usually fast asleep long before I got home.