Dan Kelley

In the Yard at Night

In the yard at night the grass feels bold or at least less timid and begins murmuring in the dark telling the branches that have fallen on it that what has happened to them was inevitable. But for the ground below there is only silent resentment as if the ground were holding the grass back from its true and glorious vocation. To be like the leaves high up in the air with a view, as if it were not the ground itself that made it possible for the grass to live at all to spend hours in fanciful dreaming.

The trees whisper in the darkness and their ancient language is not understood by the gnats and the new buds that were born yesterday. Even if they could understand they would ignore it. The damned trees talk too slow anyway. Who has time to sit waiting for them to force the words out of their slobbering splintering mouths.

Everyone tries to stay far away from the concrete chunks that have been thrown in a corner of the yard. They ramble incoherently in several voices in opposition to each other, a lunatic chorus of complaint. We do not belong here smashed up next to each other we demand that you send us back this instant to our respective homelands we have been pulled up out of the soft black interior of mountains and thrown together we have nothing to say to you extricate us from this disgusting community. Let me flow back into that river any river I can not live separated from the rest of my body I need to become once again indistinct my identity is torture.

On and on the blocks complain and a field mouse might listen in sympathy for a moment before realizing that he is much too small to help so why suffer by knowing of the block's suffering.

All of this is drowned out by a breeze that makes the branches move and the leaves rustle against each other. And this again is silenced when one of the gods moves through the yard the terrible god that walks and says nothing except when it is fighting against another of its kind and then it wails in the night a sound to tear the world apart, liberate the grass finally from the ground and cause the trees to cease their scolding stories, knocking them roots up and head down through the air to crash down in the dirt.

The night will pass and another bright day will settle over the yard. The afternoon sun drops down behind the fence. Eternity is an afternoon. No longer. And the grass might become bold again if the moon is hidden behind clouds or on the wane and the darkness gives a cover of anonymity that allows cowards to speak. This idiot speech, this inane whispering will continue after all the brilliance drops down again. A dark time will fill up with a vegetable culture. The ancient trees can complain all they can. The new plants will not listen, will not have even the ability to hear.

What was the world like? What was it like? What was it before it was this?


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