Short Story

Decomposing garden guts pureed by the bottoms of bare feet stained in orange and brown and slick between toes. The entrails of squash and cucumber rot smear across the earth, leaving behind a trail of seeds toward the grove on the far side of the property line. A Goodwill costume from the first graders’ Prairie Days — the floral-patterned skirt catches between the legs and the chest of the neutral blouse swells with wind. Frill bonnet stitches of yellow sunflowers doesn’t stop the long strands of mousy brown hair from whipping across a sunburnt face. Seeking refuge in the fort of tree branches and worn sheets to hide amongst the cornhusk dolls in baby doll dresses — all twelve tucked into wooden crannies — silent and still. Mom calls dinner is ready, but imaginary adversaries are closing in — whooping and hollering and slapping at their mouths with the palms of their hands.

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