Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Chutes and Ladders

When I say the light was fading, imagine August sent through the wash cycle a zillion times; it was truly more of a dim, golden blush, as if the evening was embarrassed at just how deeply it felt for us. Silly to guess, I know, but I estimate three acres of that light to the pound—it had some weight to it, it made me feel alive and firmly in place, smelling of summer as it did—new cut grasses, hot asphalt, persimmons—that light circulating as if forced through a fan, evening inching forward one throw of the dice at a time—a leisurely board game, the strategies of which were to move when you were told, follow the directions on the cards life had in store, do not stop, by all means pass go. Like childhood, it was simple and yet deeply connected to some knowledge just out of reach, something in place, and yet out of it, like one game’s pieces used in another—Monopoly’s silver race car or Clue’s candlestick, but traversing the board of Candy Land or Sorry—stories within stories plotted square by square, whether to that blind roll of mismatched dice or a bent arrow spun on its wheel of colors—our journeys funneled through inherited passages, fortunes good or ill—and to be familial, to be familiar, was to exist fully and only in relation to that whole—the torn box that held it all, taped and re-taped, with its tattered food-stained rules and decades of used scorecards—all vouchsafed for keeping, by the youngest, always, since being the last to die, we were allowed to win.  end  

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