The horizon blazed for three days, then another three days, ash snowing the ground, summer never loosening its grip on our small town.
Our memories of snow, cats, bears, cattle, rabbits, dogs: all lost to the birds as we adopted the gaits and skins of our familiars.
Mom always believed Grandma would live with us for just a few days more, until her country home was safe from the grass fires.
Mom brooded, distant like the mother wolf she’d always been, Dad gone the way of giant camels hitchhiking on the memory of the dodo, while Grandma made a second home of our home, along with her lifetime of hoarded jars, canned tomatoes, nuts, photo albums — never sure when a season would pass, never knowing when the fires would cease and her chipmunk could return to the singed prairies she called a homestead.
My brother and his sea anemone slept in the aquifer and geologic records, while me and my rooster perched on the roof each night, noting and hoping for a change of wind, an end to a snow that never melted.
We believed everything would burn for the shortest possible time. A sparrow perched on the gathered ash of our windowsill was all we could ask for.
Lane Chasek's work has appeared in journals such as Broke Bohemian, The Daily Drunk, North Dakota Quarterly, Plainsongs, Taco Bell Quarterly, and many more. Chasek's first book, Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe, is currently available from Jokes Review Press.