by Melissa Towne

In the dry air, curls of red dust spumed up from the earth like fingertips, backlit by a sky as clear blue and transparent as a glass of water. The man stood as if suspended in the dust, the brim of his hat casting his visage black, dimming the whites of his eyes. For a moment you could hear the rustle of the wings on a fly. I rubbed my arm. "Well," I said. Then it was like the wires holding him together on the inside snapped and he was on me in a second, teeth bared and arms flailing, bawling like a calf after its mother's slaughter.


Melissa Towne teaches first grade in Providence, Rhode Island.