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SmokeLong Quarterly

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Summer Baby

Story by Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber (Read author interview) May 23, 2016

Art by Paul H. Weisgerber

The seventeen-year cicadas punched out in May and throttled through June. On porch evenings, sitting with my Apollos, we discerned three calls. One with four distinct parts, one with two crescendos, and a third went skeedle-dee-boppity-doobop-deedleeeeee. I couldn’t decode cricket, noise looping excitedly all around in the night, in the trees: labor pains. What are they saying, Apollos?

He said, it is like Dr. Seuss Go Dog Go, where you think it’s about hats, but it’s one big huge dog party up in the trees.

I said, Mother Nature has been dogging me all day, while I was thinking about what shirt to wear, she was keeping up pressure on the gas pedal and messing with the governor. Driving me to that big dog party.

He said, I don’t know how to say their sound. I hear, yet see the circus acrobat, pretty lady, who can hula-hoop fifty silver rings at a time. Sometimes they are all rotating excitedly out of rhythm, and then, in a moment of fluid clarity, all the hoops shimmer as one serpentine tube. That’s the sound.

I said, yes. That is the sound. It rolls.

And today is the day, in a serpentine swirl and some huffy dog language I am going to. I am going to. Growl and say Gnnnnnhhhhhh.

A girl will crawl out of the mud of me, and she will roll and skritch in my cochlea. It is past midnight, and we are on the sleeping porch, go bag and car keys. Knowing, the hospital is 9 miles, 8 potholes, 7 lights, 6 turns, and can do can do Mother Nature is shifting my gear box: its shimmering patterns of serpentine flesh have a will have a will have a throttle.

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Notes from Guest Reader Kathy Fish

This story simply clobbered me. Weighing in at 290 words, it is bursting with language and sound, tenderness and beauty.

About the Author

Anne Elizabeth Weisgerber is a summer baby who had a summer baby. She loves being outdoors. She stays fairly up-to-date at anneweisgerber.com when not reading for Pithead Chapel or reviewing for Change Seven.

About the Artist

Paul H. Weisgerber is a custom letterer and pin striper. His art involves wielding the same tools the Old Masters used: squirrel-hair brushes, moll sticks, leaf, and oils. He can spin the number five in gold. He received his fine arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, and mostly takes photographs to document his own work and for clients, but said, “Sometimes I stop to document the creator’s work, too.” He took this photograph in 2007 with a Pentax K10D. He is at home in New Jersey with his wife and sons.

This story appeared in Issue Fifty-Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fifty-Two
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SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Next Date to Join: January 1!

On September 1, SmokeLong launched a workshop environment/community christened SmokeLong Fitness. This asynchronous community workshop is happening right now on our dedicated workshop site. If you choose to join us, you will work in a small group of around 10-12 participants to give and receive feedback. Each Monday, you will receive a new writing task (one writing task each week) designed by the senior editor team of SmokeLong. The core workshop is asynchronous, so you can take part from anywhere at anytime. We are excited about creating a supportive, consistent and structured environment for flash writers to work on their craft in a community.