Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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Figures in the Landscape
     After Carnival of Souls by Herk Harvey

There’s the abandoned chrome plant off Highway 42. The free–range cattle remains hunters found singed into the damp earth. The homemade electronic instruments the conspiracy chasers kept behind their pickup seats. The twenty–three acres my older half–sister and her boyfriend used to own before they lost everything to an investment scam involving the harvesting of brine flies from Utah’s Great Salt Lake. The mill workers and professors who shed their worldly husks to follow the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh into the hinterlands of Oregon. The aluminum canister my grandmother used as a table centerpiece that was once part of an incendiary weather balloon the Japanese launched into the jet stream near the end of the war. The 1/16–scale replica of the Kremlin a group of loggers started building but never finished along Wolf Creek. My great–aunt Wilma who blacked out the windows in her farmhouse, one window each month after her husband’s death. And there’s the myrtlewood box inlaid with turquoise where my father hid a key to the storage unit he rented in secret. Sometimes at night I’d hear the whispers of adults, but maybe it was just the box singing its war songs, the knell of it setting up shop in the anvil of my ear, the red knuckle of the stirrup swinging wildly. Eating meat loaf in front of the TV on Fridays, waiting for the right lottery numbers to be drawn. The long weeds and waist–high grass scraping at the house. The nights of my childhood were so dark they looked green, dark as the spinach the gods cooked in pig fat and ate before they drew up their plans to float down to earth and insert themselves into all our affairs.    

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