Lucy and Madeline imagine together. They are firefighters, then princesses. They are builders; they make tents for elves out of fallen leaves and branches. They make their fingers into elves and the elves crawl in and out of the tents.

Both girls are nine years old. They collected bottle caps all morning from their parents’ done Cokes. Now they bury them under the soil, to find again once they’re married to tall men (doctors or carpenters). They pat down the dirt.

It’s fall, but they grind the grass into a beachfront and plant small stones as condos in Pensacola. They play the moon and squirt their water bottles down for sea; they float a dead fly in the puddle. They run up the levee to feed rocks to the Mississippi, which eats them right up with a gulp. They skid down the levee in their sandals, then go to the vacant lot and pick flowers. They lick the petals and stick them on each other’s skin: here is a present, here is a decoration, this is like makeup, when you roll this red berry in your hand and rub it on your cheeks. This jasmine bud is perfume.

Want to read the rest?
Please login.
New to Narrative? sign up.
It's easy and free.