Li’l Sibs Weekend

Tell the truth: the tall grass was trampled down like choppers had landed. Cars were parked on both sides of the dirt road, stuck or maybe not in the ditches. Someone had rigged floodlights to a tree next to the trailer and set up pallets for a stage.

A bonfire by a stock pond made the water seem like it was burning. A car motor hung on a winch above a gutted sedan in a barn. Everyone pissed in the weeds in exactly the same way, looking over their shoulders, hitching up their zippers with a bounce when they were done.

Kegs were on a picnic table, and the table was covered with a tablecloth that still had the creases in it. The detail made you homesick. No surprise.

The trailer was warm and smelled like kerosene. There was a beer distributor calendar on the refrigerator, a brown plaid couch and a coffee table. A palsied stack of dishes waited in the sink.

Your sister pulled at her bangs in the reflection of the kitchen window.  

So. How’s life? she asked.

Damp and earthy-autumn air outside. Vapors glowed silvery over everything that breathed. The guitarist knelt at his amp, blew on his hands to warm his fingers, fiddled with knobs. He tuned up by tapping the tops of the strings. The chimes wobbled away like smoke rings. There were scattered whistles.  

Rock and roll!  

The front man walked out of the crowd, stepped onto the pallets, and put his plastic cup down. He covered the mic and yelled muffled questions to the band: White Light? White Light?

The drummer started. The band fell in. The frontman pulled the mic to himself and closed his eyes.

Your sister and her friends held up their cups and bowed their heads with the beat. Football players leaned on their boot heels, sipped their beer, watched the stage serenely.

The floodlights made shadows on the yard. A nervous night for you. Slim girls, ghosts. The one next to you with the fishing line earrings, dancing like she was treading water.  

Everybody but you nodding. Everybody but you singing along on the chorus. You didn’t know the song then.

Bird Report

Two crows, beak-to-beak, in the plowed cornfield. Some serious plotting afoot. Neither startles as I pass.