I know they’ve been talking to you about weeks, but I can only think in miles, since here is the same as far, here the breeze lilts from the kipped kitchen window, the sumac tree ripples green and rust, and the sky wells its radiance down into me, alive and still bargaining for space in my skull to hold how this all goes away. Meanwhile an echo of us keeps driving down the winter dirt of Ames Hill, you saying be patient for now, don’t do a thing with haste, and me believing because behind a windshield everything sounds closer, conversation and rain and songs we belted along to, heartbreakers, guilty pleasures made true, made ours, made indestructible in that car that never did surrender to the snow. Years later at your wedding, after the sky went black and half of us changed into jeans, you passed around sparklers still in your suit, lit one and walked off alone into your parents’ lawn, brightness spitting from your hand as you said not quite to yourself, you have to find the darkest place, so I know that you know how to do this, how to step into darkness carrying light, but I don’t, I just don’t, I just need you to call like you used to from the road, a shimmer of pavement and leaves undertowing your voice, till some ridge, some empty place swept it crackling away from me, and I never knew if you heard when I said your name, and take care, and I love you, into that fathomless hum, which is all I know how to do, which is all I will never give up.
Erin Calabria grew up on the edge of a field in rural Western Massachusetts and currently lives in Magdeburg, Germany. She is a co-founding editor at Empty House Press, which publishes writing about home, place, and memory. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize and was selected as a winner for The Best Small Fictions 2017. You can read more of her work in Sundog Lit, Split Lip Magazine, Wyvern Lit, Third Point Press, and other places.