Their turning inwards, was that their mistake? The thought was that they could wean word from the world to which it was giving, and to which its misgivings and theirs belonged. Did they think that, like mid-wives, they might pluck self from self?

They knew of word’s affection for spectacle, the celebrity appeal of whatever was most present; and they knew how, tense with anticipation, word would wait to be beckoned, and happily join any show of function. They failed to reckon what it meant.

As awe-struck as children, with irony like cotton candy in their mouths, they stared at the dazzling metal wheel, upon which word leapt over tigers and balanced above tongues of flame. All the while, the adrenal salts on their tongues tasted stale as popcorn at a circus.

They slurped the con and confectionary swill.  They cheered and held sweating palms to sweating palms, content either to assume the role of parent or else to find it in adjacent seats. They encountered nostalgia intimately, accepted its promise as a challenge, and predicted its fulfillment in word.

When they adopted word and went away, the winter stung but did not deter. What they expressed as a defensive measure, idealistic and pure, gave others mild offense. Within weeks, they were sufficient, severed from all but word, and word from all but them. Smoke rose from a chimney; snow and mystery insulated their existence.

But they were blind. Though the detritus of their catastrophe suggested betrayal, and though the position of the limbs in the wreckage implied naïve passion is to be blamed, learned commentary disparages both theories.

The wreckage has been cleared and the farmland purchased.  I write asking donations for a plaque to be placed on a rock near the gate, and I seek suggestions for what might be inscribed thereon.


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