**content warning: death mention**
[part 1: and the moon shines when it’s day, too]
the streetlamps always die in the dark. they stumble and fade and flicker out, spitting light out onto the sidewalk before they’re swallowed by the night. it’s a country dusk, a can’t-see-your-fingers kind of pitch-black that coats the air, and when you try to open your eyes it eats at you, settles deep into your skin. all the houses on mckinley street look like ghosts at 3 a.m.—broken and fading and wrapped in sheets of peeling wallpaper, basking in a blanket of ink that churns around and around like fleas swimming inside your belly. darkness nipping at your cheeks.
[part 2: and i suppose death lives in all places]
the creek at kiwanis park is a tiny thing. barely a river, maybe a stream—a twist of water that glows blue in july and hardens over come winter. you still wonder how something so harmless could nearly consume someone whole, how a rush of ice and snow could crack open like a crater on the moon and steal all the breath from a little boy’s lungs. you wonder how the world can freeze for a single second and burst back open the next, how your best friend would’ve died that day if an old man hadn’t been walking past with a golf club to heave his blue body out of the creek that’s not a creek anymore. isn’t it funny how something can be so gentle in one minute yet a roaring ocean the next?
[part 3: and the only difference between summer and the stars is that one is infinite]
when the sun rises at noon the blacktop glows yellow and singes your bare feet, and somewhere in the distance you can see the steeple of st. mary’s church skimming the sky. if it’s possible to be drunk on summer, you must be, for the air is so rich you almost choke on it. the soil smells like manure and geraniums and corn stalks, and when you ride your bike out past all the crumbling barns it’s as if everything’s stopped spinning for just a second. you wish that you could’ve bottled up that feeling when you could, that you would’ve known nostalgia before it left.
[part 4: for dad]
i wonder if you’re glad that you never had any reckless boys. i wonder if you’re glad that we don’t live on mckinley street where the dark swallows the light and drowns dreamers whole, that we don’t play in creeks and ride our bikes into far-off fields and squish our feet into dirt thick like soup and track mud through the house. i wonder if you’re glad that the night barely comes, that the sky is so washed in light pollution you can barely see the stars. i wonder how something so brimming with memories can die in an instant, how when they shut down the engine factory on the cusp of the millennium and nobody could pay the bills anymore the town fell off the face of the earth [i wonder if you’re sad that mckinley street fell with it too]. i wonder if in ten years i’ll miss this place or if it’ll be a ghost-town, i wonder if i’ll be like you: living in a single year as if it’s infinite. longing for what once was.
About the Author
Addison Rahmlow is a teenage writer and artist from the Midwest. She enjoys screenwriting, photography, practicing the flute, and can often be found running up and down the uneven sidewalks of her neighborhood. Her work has been published in the Write the World Review and has been recognized nationally by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards—you can find her at addisonrahmlow.carrd.co. She hopes you're having a great day!