It wasn’t about the watermelon rind in the sink or the dog sleeping on the porch, wasn’t about the blue gibbous moon or the sound of a clothesline fluttering, wasn’t about blood types, pheromones, the unpaid light, gas, and phone bills, wasn’t about that dream you’d had a hundred times before: your father, waking on the front lawn of the church, a ripped shirt in one hand and a deer heart in the other. It’s not so easy to explain, you say to eyes widening across the chrome dinner table. An elbow propped and a hand outstretched as if to say go on. It wasn’t about rainwater or fangs or when the sheriff knocked at the door, asking to speak to your father—how he held his hand close to his gun-holster and you knew immediately what was to come. You purse your lips and breathe in cedarwood. It wasn’t about any of this. It was about when you were only a child and you sat with him in cheatgrass, tossing stones against the driveway. Then he glanced at you the way a father does, like he was watching you tumble forward through time. Eventually, he said, you’re going to have a choice: either suffocate under this town’s myths or forget all about me. Promise me you’ll choose the second. Promise me you’ll leave.
Art by Jason Blackeye