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Earth Cracks Under Feet

Leslie Benigni

November is the month of cracks, train tracks,

(when the cracks began to chip away at the skin)

track and hunt, track our way back home, crack

a tree branch, cracked tree branches across the river

there are hunters (bright orange) through the trees walking

parallel to us through trees, through cracks, but they’re not on train tracks...

The train tracks lead back home.

I came home often, back for break, a break of sorts. The wheel was turning underneath all of the events beginning then, the wheel/veil of the actual events of the world and what the world intends for us, the wheel that my grandmother and great grandmother told me about: The wheel turns.

These are my father’s mother and grandmother, and my mother dropped off my father and I at the end of the train tracks to walk back home.

I followed behind my father, passing the loch masters' abandoned yellow brick houses, massive government funded places with three fireplaces each and surrounded by pits of barbs and jaggerbushes.

I wish we could go inside.

Yeah, I bet it’s neat in there.

We looked in the shed instead, just a remote control, shut the door and walked on.

There can be a wondrous aching with each decrepit mossy step of the railroad ties. Movies lie. They don’t tell you that you have to almost always look down for unevenness, for snakes hiding parallel on the ties under leaves wedged in rocks. You have to look down, but you get into a rhythm and you notice that the sun clothes the day in a near-evening light and you wonder what it’s like to dream.

There was a dark indigo, almost black, met with a warm beige fan of light that expanded in my chest and it reminded me of the city I thought more of as a home at the time than where this place was. But up above the tracks with elephant ear plants and caves and stories of times gone by with each railroad tie, I wondered still.

I couldn’t find the words, so I did not speak. My father didn’t say anything either. I watched his back/my feet/the river/the trees above. The empty vessel of not speaking gave me time to do what I wanted without eyes on me.  It’s a tiny green jolt in the stomach that I didn’t need confirmation on. My father was out ahead of me and will never turn around to see me. I didn’t realize that it’s what I needed.

I stopped on a patch of moss and I watched him walk farther away…

I pulled my sweater above my head at home while dipping my hands in the cool November water, I pulled my sweater above her head at home while dipping her hands in the cool November water.

We take it upon our skin to make us feel alive again...


Leslie Benigni

Leslie Benigni

Leslie Benigni is a recent MFA graduate from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, now living in Pittsburgh. Her work has been published in Quibble Journal, Defunct Magazine, Not Deer Magazine, Flyover Country Literary Magazine, Perhapped Magazine, :Lexicon Literary Journal, and LitAthenaeum. Find her on instagram and twitter, respectively @benignileslie and @lbeni894 .

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