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October 2019 Vol. 15 No. 3

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Jonathan Humphrey


Three pasture fences are broken. Hank’s young bull is loose. Parents pick their children up from school. No skipping through clover. Fireflies grow thick without the calligraphy of arms. Most dreams have given way to nightmares. Blurred visions of horns, some skewering first grade classrooms, others erupting from the ground to towering heights, lingering as bony gates to uncertainty. No one knows the bull has fallen through a blue tarp into a drained pool. The few crickets that live there wonder if some god hasn’t fallen from the sky. On a fractured leg he laps the perimeter, driven first by curiosity, then thirst, then madness. Week two and he’s licking the walls, scab-tongued, out of habit. The streaks of blood render like cave paintings. By now the crickets have decided they don’t care for this god. Too much like themselves. All questions. No answers. They face one another and sing again. The next morning, while driving to church, Hank prays for the children. During the sermon, he prays for his bull.

cows stare
at the cow staring