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April 2017, vol 13 no 1

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Kreg Viesselman

Winter Kill


Factoring in the wind chill, it is -50 Fahrenheit, and white in every direction. My foreign girlfriend sits speechless in the car beside me. We are driving along the willow-straight road heading due north out of my home town in southern Minnesota. The only vertical dividing the flatness is a plume of black smoke rising from a distant farm. Someone is burning garbage. They also plow the ground right up to the backdoor here, and blow their noses using only a well-placed thumb. It's the way they treat anything not immediately useful, a precedent set twenty thousand years ago: Everything the glaciers met, they either dragged along until ground into nothing, or buried beneath 30 feet of till.

The sodbusters cut down whatever was left.

The ground is frozen solid, so that even now, during Christmas vacation, the county rendering truck makes its rounds, stopping briefly at the end of each long driveway. Really, there's no real rush, as far as that goes. Things don't rot in this cold, they only stop living.

pink white pink
a pair of dead hogs
stacked in snow


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