Land's got an uncanny sense of our lives' conflagration. Down the road they have their towered cakes, their landscapes and packed cities, we have Centralia. Our bootlegged mines of anthracite, metered readings, pipes hot above the washboard reasonless. Any moment, sinkholes, and some of us who once had homes, now they're stories beneath the ground. Architecture wants to gut itself and start over. There are days we do the same. We know the numbers, the overwhelming of us gone. 10% is Alice who traded son and pick-up for perennials. 50% are households who became one. 30%'s the Jacksons who paint the benches green downtown. Specters flee the steam pipes. Trees are white, stone even, enough to burn for 200 years. Only started warning when we near lost a boy to the ground, took our zip code. We know what's down there. What it is about Centralia is what it is about the heart that only happens here.
The Anatomy of Desks
It was well known which heads were infested. They were to stick to the blacktop while the others roamed the yard. No one in the grass wanted to be flung too far, so the merry-go-round spun cautiously. Liced and non-liced alike saw communities prove liquid as new alliances formed with the shifting of boundaries. A braided head and buzz cut speculated on how closely they had come to ruin. On the blacktop, they made do with chalk, drawing four-squares and bouncing rubber balls among them. They knew they were watched but maintained a charade of play, sharing orange wedges and wearing knitted caps from the lost and found because it couldn't get any worse. Even resuming their interior posts, the liced betrayed themselves with sniffles, having spent nights naked and upright, shivering under maternal scrutiny. It's not that they forever felt crept upon, but that geography spiraled inward to their own bony fulcrums and weakening fault lines.
Kim Hagerich is a writer, English teacher and intermittent bookmaker. Her writing has appeared in decomP, CutBank, NANO Fiction, Green Mountains Review, Gigantic Sequins and New Flash Fiction Review.