Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Day The Sky Went Away

Positioned on the rusted automobile, emily nestled her head in my lap as we watched the thick humid sky - surrounded by green of new summer wash of growth - watching a gaggle of military jets fly by. The base was nearby so - just over the mountain - as this was a common sight, though these birds were odd. Silver fluted radar dishes dangled from their underbellies as they streaked in unison over the mountain, trimming the trees.

Squinting we watched as from behind us a new sound ripped the mountainous white vapory sponge that hung in the sky. A seaplane skimmed over the horizon, wheels like eagle talons threatening to knock us both senseless. We covered our ears thinking how odd this plane was so low.

From behind, like from behind a shadow, out over the mountain the behemouth silver, phallic, sleek stream of pure technology cut like a shark over the trees - carrying a hurricane in its own presence, bellowing belching jet fumes, pushing the air around us like a Greek tragedy, it consumed its own path. Out of nowhere, it narrowly avoided the seaplane and we could then make out that it was some type of cargo plane. Large and pregnant with materiel, with girth, like a redwood with wings; it didn't fly as much as crawled, belly-like, snake-like, against the lackluster silver painted sky.

Roaring gasping gulping air it began to climb. Slowly, drearily, reluctantly trying to loop-the-loop, yet so close to the ground I knew at once it would never pull up in time. It flopped backwards, running out of space, time, and grace, it threw its own self like a flapjack on a griddle cracked into the block one over from mine.

Instinctively I dove on emily, knowing the shockwave would be intense. The heat licked us all over like a cat tongue, roughing us up, cutting searing lung tissue like a sun, blowing us back. Then the wind fierce teeth-like grasp on my skin, pouring back hair, eyes, face. I covered emily not thinking anything - just reacting like plants to sunlight.
After the blast, the smoke, the fire, the wind - the mini-apocolypse in my mind - it rained objects that I had not ever expected. Band-aids fluttered like maple tree seedlings, jars of vaseline colored the most Bahaman aqua blue, then tiles from scrabble games, dropping letters consonants and vowels, "Q"'s and "Z"'s and "X"s alike. Finally, little momentos fell from the sky - knick-knacy things really; silver, pewter figurines, commemorating some event, some loss, some friendship, some time. Dropping dropping - clicking down like hail - like animal claws on tile, a clean, harsh sound ---

At this point a neighbor pulled up - not being home -- seeing what looked like armageddon, began to openly weep; and it made me weep to see the shards of lives all over; the smoke, the loss of everything embossed on these tiny things seeded all over the ground.

I turned to Emily and instructed her dutifully, that if she found any body parts to come tell me and not to touch them… body parts… there must have rained body parts… I knew they were there, but I did not see them descend. I knew they were there, though.

MB 2000


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