Johnston Station ~ Late August

by Quin Browne

On the banks of the Bogue Chitto, there in the bend of the river where the current ran slow, a thick rope with a intricate knot at the end hung down from a tree far older than our tiny Mississippi delta town. On days when the humidity was so thick you pulled as much water as air into your lungs, we'd wait our turn out under the tree canopy that trapped heat, no-see-eums, and our giddy voices. A hard push; swinging out, you let go - your body paused in time and space, suspended just like Wile E. Coyote when he'd run out of cliff. You hung there long enough to contort your body or make a face at the crowd... long enough to feel your stomach contract in anticipation of the slap of the warm surface/cold bottom water on your skin. On occasion, you stood mid-flight, toes gripping to keep your balance, waiting to see if you'd built up the courage to do a back flip - your Great-Aunt Mamie's warning about kids who'd broke their necks flipping off that rope so far out of thought, it wasn't even a memory. Sometimes, though, you sat with ass cheeks holding on to that knot--your wrinkled fingers tight on the wet hemp - sailing out in a smooth line, and at that moment, right before the rope would curve out, jerking you into the return journey... you could see all the way past summer to autumn.


Quin Browne has a growing body of work. Some of it is published, some isn't. Life is funny that way.