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The dream ends as a new day begins again. There is no shared lucidity for the waking mind. I turn to the window, still dark, then retreat...sinking...exhaling...transposed on a new horizon.
The lone abandoned prairie house; built of wood, mud, and straw, provides shelter from the present. Blinking under a stratus sky, soft rain taps my eyes as I start toward the entrance through the thick wet grass, no longer gleaned by livestock. I reach the door, which falls on rusty steel hinges as I pull, and the scent of grease and wet earth permeates the air. In the transitional light, a haunting shadow stands sifting through the broken machinery parts, looking forlorn at the selection; and, disturbed by my sudden arrival.
Taken aback, I look down to my shoes; wet and gleaming with moisture, they sit at the end of pants discolored by wet grass - I'm chilled to my knees. Shadows abated, the light reveals no presence and I'm fixed, instead, on a calendar from the era which dates the cull, September, 1929, in defiance of time; but, curled - brown and crisp.
Beyond the door, at the other end of the antechamber, lies wooden stairs wound tightly around a brick chimney, ascending from the cellar, and littered with tobacco tins filled with greasy bolts. What of the days passed with each pinch? Time remains stored in the tobacco tins which litter the steps.
Enticed, I cross the room to the stairs, which crack dryly, rediscovering their design, and follow the chimney to the attic, as the morning rain taps on swollen wooden roof planks.
Reaching the attic, I look down, past the crumbling bricks of the chimney and beyond the broken boards of the second floor, onto a room sheltered by the debris of time.
Dust blankets the contents; but, in the silence of this arid room, I spot the yellowed control knobs of a glass tube radio. Thunder pounds the rafters as the radio face lights once more to render a moment once forgotten.
In my time it played in twilight as we ate fresh boiled eggs; sausage; and pickled beans; around set tables. While thirsts quenched with beer spoke of great days ahead; I gazed at the sky in solitude outside the perimeter of cut grass.
Now, in the light, the radio's wide green brush swaths, cracked and broken - as to recolor the past - lend support to a more modest time and hold promise, and support, only for the steel rims of a seized motor-cycle which leans, exhausted, against it and triumphs over the remains of rubber tires.
Suddenly, the light and memories fade as I turn to face my only companion in this forgotten place: the dust. At once, clouds depart, and dust stabs the sunlight. Stealing through the shards of a broken pane and sifting through the shrinking trusses of this once proud shelter, it dances, incandescent, through poking beams of light - choking. Leering towards the fading light, and peering over the shards of a dusty window frame, I quench my eyes and the vast prairie opens up before me...a weather beaten truck is traveling in the distance.
Pillows of dust follow the farm truck as it bows and raises before the crooked land which rolls before it. A young boy turns the wheel in excitement as his grandfather watches over. In the haze of dust which overtakes the vehicle as it pauses, the old man confesses, "we are here for a short time".
Wrenching back tears, I revisit the shards of glass which lie at the foot of a window broken in his honor, or was it my honor? Was it so long ago?
Night falls...I'm struggling in the cellar. In darkness and shadows, I revel in emptiness with memoirs that have lost their meaning.
From this pit which once provided refuge I now take the cold and uneasy steps of the first...the second...the attic; where shards of glass are once again covered in dust.
With a start, I awake and placate the shrieking alarm. In silence, I remember my place and lie squinting in the morning sun.



Comments

The following comments are for "Dust"
by razoumikhin

Haunting
This evoked the fear and lack of place us humans sometimes feel. The descriptions are haunting and sad but lead me as a reader to prefer the shadowy land of dark dreams than the harsh sights and sounds of the now.

( Posted by: kssterling [Member] On: July 26, 2004 )





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