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Demond & Posey – August 2011

Marlayna Demond and Rafe Posey traded art. Marlayna shared these photos with Rafe:

(Click on photos to enlarge.)

In response, Rafe wrote this story:


It was Perseids time, those early August bolts of shimmer across the welkin, and a clutch of us had gone out star watching.  Leo’s decrepit F150 tended to clatter, and most nights he turned the classic rock station up too loud as compensation.  When it was hot out – deep summer hot, the kind that left the roads soft and steamy for an hour after sunset – the noise his truck made got worse, and the midnight we drove up into the Sandia foothills for the meteor shower it sounded like he was driving a broken-down old tractor.

In the backseat, Kate and Tawny were arguing about something in low voices turned brittle by the conflict.  I suspected it had something to do with Tawny’s mother, who famously thought Kate was not good enough, not smart enough, and certainly not rich enough for her boy; Kate had done about all she could to get along with the old woman.  Tawny had not done enough to back her up, as far as I could tell.  Even Leo thought so, and he was notable for his apathy, especially where it concerned the romantic lives of his friends.

Once, he’d been Kate’s biggest champion.  They had grown up together in Arkansas, and when Leo moved west Kate followed him.  I think she thought he’d get further than Albuquerque, maybe take I-40 all the way to California, but Leo had fallen in love with the deep, rich pinks of the mountains, and the ridiculous searing blue of the sky.  He had also, I liked to think, fallen in love with me, but that is another story, and also, I was never quite sure.

For a long while they lived together in a house in Tijeras.  I used to be jealous – they weren’t a couple, but it hurt me deep inside that Kate got all the time with Leo that I couldn’t have.  Gradually, she got tired of mountain life, especially on days when the snow filled their driveway and she couldn’t get to town.  She liked living among trees, and twice she’d seen coyotes slinking along the edges of their garden, but she wanted to make jewelry and go dancing, and that was too hard up there.

I moved in when she moved out. By then Leo and I had been together almost two years, and I loved him so much that I wanted to live where I could breathe him in all the time.  He built me a wall of bookcases and evicted his husky, Jug, from the bed.  I learned to fall asleep with his hand on my hip, sometimes gripping hard enough to leave faint bruises.  I didn’t care whether it was easy to get anywhere else.  When it snowed so deep I couldn’t move my car, I worked from home, and took Jug out to wrestle in the drifts.

Kate found an apartment near the university.  She met Tawny when he drove his Harley into the side of her car on Central.  She was parked at the Frontier at the time, getting one of their giant breakfasts.  It was one of those brilliantly shiny mornings that we get in the winter, when it’s not too cold yet but the mountains are pregnant with snow, and all the college kids have unpacked their fleece and their gloves, and Tawny missed the gleam of a patch of frost on the road.  Neither his bike nor her Volkswagen escaped unscathed, but they seemed to like their cute-meet story, even when Tawny’s mother added it to her interior list of Kate’s flaws.

This was the first year we’d taken them up the mountain with us for the meteors.  Leo and I had slept out on his porch the past two summers to watch the sky streak past above us, but lately his neighbors had filled the space around their houses with extra lights, and what had once been a dense black and silver canopy had become a distant, hazy glow.  Leo figured we’d see more, and better, slouched across the truck’s hood, or blanketed in its bed.  And I figured, as I always did, that Leo was probably right.

Not long before midnight he turned off Tramway, and the road narrowed as it wound up to the park at Elena Gallegos, and even the tractor sound of the truck did not stop the lazy blinking of animal eyes from the roadside.  Leo slowed until we were thundering along at a crawl, and then he pulled off and let the dust settle around us.  Kate and Tawny stopped snapping at each other and slid out of the tiny seat in the back of the cab, their fingers creeping back together.  The sky was bigger than anything Tawny’s mother could have said to Kate, and she knew it, and she knew that Tawny knew it too. 

I took Leo’s hand and kissed his thumb knuckle.  While Tawny and Kate ambled along the roadside among the mouse sounds and the distant keening of coyotes, Leo and I unfurled a layer of blankets in the truck bed and lay down, our hands barely touching.  Above us, stars thought about moving, and when one broke loose, I could almost hear the sighs its comrades made.  The clock moved, and we didn’t care, and the meteors fired across the vastness. 

Leo leaned in and moved his mouth against the side of my neck.  “Make a wish,” he said, and I smiled, because I already had, and we were in it.

* * * * *

Rafe shared this story with Marlayna:

Moonboy’s Story: A Univocal Lipogram

Noon. Moonboy rows, trolls on bonny Loch Lomond. Born John O’Connor, Moonboy works for Yoko Ono’s School for Cool Boys. Moonboy cooks: crocks, pots, Pho, good food for rowdy boys.

Noon. Two good boys on Yoko’s workshop looms rock to Bono songs, grow smooth brown cloth. For logos, gold fox, gold wolf howl moonly for joy.

Noon. Octomom strolls, shops, drops. Boxy socks woo droopy tots. Toy dogs growl. Snow on doors blocks bookshops.

Noon. Schools across worlds bond, form vows: Crowd know-how now! No pogroms! Gold Bond for jocks!

Noon. Hollywood: Old cowboy Don Johnson, no Zorro, hoots: “Yo soy!”

Noon. Tors on rocky, foggy moors roof old soft moss, or holly. On Loch Lomond, Moonboy’s scow scoops to port. Moonboy crops to rocky roost, crows sorrow.


In response, Marlayna made this photograph, entitled “Float”:

One Comment leave one →
  1. Heather Shark permalink
    August 15, 2011 12:05 pm

    Beautiful! Love all of it.

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