We met when we both fell out the same tree overlooking the Buffalo River in the midst of a storm that gave everyone a brief reprieve from the plague of locusts. Carcasses lay strewn about the footpaths and levees, and no one had seen fit to remove them. When we landed, the crunching of the expired delicacies made each of us fear for our bones until we realized the source of the excruciating noises.

Your left hand swatted my right foot. I thought of Twister just as my head connected with the knotted tree root jutting in subtle defiance of the Earth. You whispered a halting regret, as if you could have chosen to attempt to break your fall by placing your hand elsewhere. Perhaps, had we not been staring at one another in the shelter of the oak, neither one of us would have plummeted. The locust corpses, still dry under the tree’s dome of branches, pierced our skin to shallow depths. Once we stood up and caught our breaths, we looked at one another embarrassed, unhinging locusts from our legs, as the storm subsided and a light rain spit at us.

Later, you would say that we were connected temporarily, but long-term like the storm on Jupiter. For now, the sun disrobed itself of its clouds to make us copper again. Water squeaked out of the locust bodies as we trekked, only conscious of our breathing and whether we walked together in time.


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