“this is joy, this is summer / keep alive”
— Frank Ocean
How we think it is over, and odd. How fungus grows and infects people already hurt. How even after a tornado, it is spores that will kill a few more. How I know a boy who dies because of wind. How I knew a boy who died because of wind. How we call it Nature and God and Quiet in the end.
How an aunt stays with us, indefinitely, after losing her home. How I must babysit a cousin I have never met before. How I am happy to do it. How I do not know her, but we are both alive. How the government gifts us too many toothbrushes. How she likes sandals and sunflowers and cries when she hears sirens. How she is also averse to peanut butter. How I pray when I hear loud clouds. How our stomachs churn all summer.
How the odor in the air won’t leave. How we fear more storms will strike another day. How we want to be anywhere but here. How loss can feel at once all- surrounding yet make-believe. How there is not enough room for grief, or bodies, in a town. How they must lay all the corpses by the football field. How I hear stories of an aunt who lost her head.
How we took shelter in the bathroom with the cat. How we called it hiding from the atmosphere. How she kept making strange noises. How she kept trying to escape from safety. How I thought of how I’d never had a boyfriend. How even in the small space, we are arguing. How I fear my parents will end in divorce under blue indifferent to keep us here.
How we mustn’t stay outside for too long after. How a church predicted the world will end, just before. How a doomsday billboard illuminated the sky of impending rapture. How I asked a friend, Do you think it’s true? How it’s not what we deserve. How here we often speak in retribution. How I get drunk with friends one night, then people fly in the air.
about the author