Thursday, July 1, 2010


Wind by Claudia

In our grandmother's kitchen, for as long as I could remember, we had special placemats for the oak table with the captain chairs.  My brother's was a picture of deep meteor canyon left in the desert; mine was the lighthouse on the rocky coast of Maine; my cousin's, windmills in Holland in a field of tulips.   We'd had them for so long, we could not remember if Grandma had assigned us the mats or if we had chosen them ourselves.  She served us windmill cookies on little green plates.  For special dinners, she used the Fiesta Ware.  The kitchen was Harvest Gold and Avocado.  Inside the pantry were glass bottles of maraschino cherries, and a two year supply of canned goods.  She believed in preparation for disaster, and in saving. 
In the living room, a braided rug and a color television in polished wood, a fine piece of furniture.  The plaid scratchy sofa, big enough for all three cousins and a medium-sized dog.  In the corner, our Granpa’s Lazy-Boy recliner.
We had not been to the places on the placemats, but we said we would each go there someday.  Outside the kitchen window, long white blonde grass went on for miles.  Now the house is gone, but not the grass, and there are windmills. 


Manmade by Beth

Five months after she moved in, she found out why the house had been so cheap.

It started with a couple of white pickups with amber lights on top, rambling past on the dirt road. The next week, it was flatbeds with Caterpillars, and then, months later, the white blades covered in shrinkwrap like wintering boats. She watched the procession from her front porch, coffee in hand, as spring turned to summer turned to fall. She didn’t like the feeling that she’d been tricked, but didn’t mind the construction so much. Sure, it was sad to see the big pines fall, bounce once or twice, lie still with the dust swirling into the air around them. But at least the saws were too far away to be loud. And everyone said that windmills ruined the view, but it meant nothing else would be built on that ridge. They were better than skyscrapers, or Wal*Marts. So she watched, and rocked in her new painted rocking chair, and drank her coffee, and loved being in this house that was all her own.

For a long time she was alone, but then she met Pete at the coffee shop, and then she started seeing him there every week, and then she started going every morning, when he was most likely to be there. And then one day he said, hey, want to go see the windmills up close?

They drove up in Pete’s truck, a red F-150 with the kind of paint that loses its shine after a decade or so. Pete’s hands were tanned, rested casually on the steering wheel. They listened to K100, and he talked back to the DJs. The power company had done a good job with the wide, flat, road, which was smoother than the town’s potholed asphalt.

She saw the first one when they rounded the corner, bigger than she had expected, like a lighthouse. Then when she stepped out of the truck, and the wind hit her full-on, she felt a rush of fear. When she got closer, when she looked straight up at the windmill and it seemed like it was falling toward her, when she saw the shadow of it against the trees behind, when the alien whirr filled her ears like it might never stop, when Pete came to stand beside her, she started to think that maybe none of this had been such a good idea.


Dust Devil Calling, or Hiding From Nowhere by Bill

The ears sparking, hopping sounds from the ribs of the djinn next to her. She stopped running towards the horizon. She let her eyes clear of the moisture in them, drying salty and stinging. With the flat end of a stalk she carves his name into the earth next to an ant-hill. He smiled, his alabaster lips parting, the milky substance of his body wavering close to the ground reaching out toward the earth and fading into nothingness just at the place gravity should have touched him.

The sound of his call became like spinning of a windmill far off and a little dust devil wandered near, tracing over the marks she had left in the sand towards where they'd come. A fatter little twister came loping in and the two of them wound together into something as tall as the cactus, capering off into the wind. The ants meanwhile had nearly shifted the sands back into the grooves she had carved and his name faded once they'd broken the ring on the hoop in the center so they went back to work collecting food and digging tunnels and making ready their wars on the surrounding hills.

His face turned again, his voice became the sound of a sheet hung from a line drying in the wind, and he followed her again, weaving against the currents of the air while she dug in her heals against the sand.


Let’s Take a Walk by Alan

“Don’t worry,” he said. “You may be Catherine, but I’m not Newt.” He stood at her door with a bunch of wind toys tucked into his back packet. She didn’t expect this visit.

“Let’s take a walk,” he said as he revealed to her his gift. She reluctantly agreed. “But I need to get back before sundown,” she said, “or else I can’t go.”

“No problem,” he said. “We’re just going to take a walk.”

“To where?”

“Wherever you want to go.”

“I don’t want to go anywhere, not anymore.” “You’re not planning to kiss me, are you?”

He didn’t answer. They walked for hours, past the road that lead to their old school, past the gas station, past the junction where they used to watch the trucks whiz by.

“How did things change so fast?” he asked her.

“Why were you so indecisive?” she responded.

Neither could answer. At some point, he made a move for her hand, but she resisted. They sat there awhile, holding up their wands against the horizon, trying to match the toy to the actual windmills miles away. “This is how things go,” they both began to think – two sentences independent of one another happening at the same time in two different heads.

The sun went down, but the wind continued.


Destiny by Johanna

Destiny kicks off her sandals and places her feet up on the railing, noticing the tan lines from her straps, a contrast made deeper from all the summer dirt her toes accumulate. The bus stops twice on its way out of the mountains, once in Penasco, once in Mora. Only one or two people get on at each stop for the weekly route to Oklahoma. She lowers her feet for them, pretends to sleep so they won't ask her to move over. Through shuttered lids, Destiny sees the old lady quivering against a willow cane and thinks, she's going to see her daughter in Oklahoma City whose married to a rich rancher, but still never visits her mamacita. Destiny watches the young man with tattoos up his neck, holding onto his waistband as he limps down the aisle and she thinks, he's running away from something, a pregnant girlfriend or a drunken crime.

When the craggy peaks and their rolling foothills are nothing but distant hazy shadows, the windmills come into sight. The plains open wide, fields of dry grasses waving forward from the horizon like an ocean. She is standing on the beach hoping for what lies ahead. If the windmills are turning, she will stay on the bus, continue beyond this expanse, beyond what she knows. But the windmills are never turning. So, like each time before that she was able to pilfer the necessary change for the long ride east, she exits the bus in Clayton, crosses the empty highway and waits for the next bus home. Destiny stands and stares, imagining what those turbines would look like spinning into a kaleidoscope of light, pouring energy through their veins, but the winds never change.


The Department by Lyle

The processing of negative space into pieces falls under the current regime’s Department of Localized Anesthetization for Migratory Thought Patterns. “Final compartmentalization of concatenation,” letterhead, name of officer. “Few of us have the faculty to do our job,” one employee is anonymously quoted as saying. Windmills circulate slowly as a man records the negative space every second. He files reports hourly wherein the windmills are given a break from the relentless process. A bird is caught in the mechanism during this time but goes unrecorded. The photos he takes before the hour and after the hour are always blurring, as per department mandate. Jacob Quixote, another member/employee (it is more than just a job) of The Department, is giving a lecture about negative space in thinking and the detrimental effects, when it is uncompartmentalized,  on local housing patterns. The Department is dark, having been cloaked by an anti-mitigation device (the mitigation of darkness having been covered in several memos of late). It has, in essence, classified itself: an inclusive set of one.


Windmills by Forrest

She’d slide herself and me off from town to get me my turn, but not my no-other brother. He got the waterbowl. Wooden alphabet blocks. For him I’ve wanted remembering this: she drove out any time except high noon and after if ever she had cared, pulling up to uncleared brush casting small shadows out by roadside as she readied a lit cigarette in her right hand. He might’ve liked the darker blue ridge of those remote windmills of hers turn and cut and keep cutting into a lighter shade of clear sky. I’m not sure. On the hood of the car she’d sit, smoke, consider the spinning blades, and not talk about Luther since I think men didn’t need mentioning for her fascination there. They don’t do nothing, she often griped, looking over the far distance between. They’re just for show. Big fucking show.

This much I had learned already from her. I drew large circles around her car in the dust with the heel of my sneaker. I’d start with the left headlight, make my way towards the back while she was distracted, eventually come to where she sat, her legs propped over the grill, pale yellow bruises scattered across her knees, and I kept drawing around her until she’d grab my arm and press me up against the hot fender and tell me to watch the goddamn useless windmills—less you’re rushing to get back? she asked with the cigarette tip an inch from my face. Then she threw her arms about my shoulders. It’d let her nuzzle my ear. Didn’t think so, she giggled smoke into me. Now you try spotting another road to those, sweetheart, cause we’re still not finding them yet, but I once gave her up and pointed out the road we both came on.