Emma’s Manitoba Ennui
Traveling the back road every summer day to work, she had driven by the parched wild fields, the soil beginning to pucker, to form misshapen plates that curled skyward and left massive cracks as they pulled. My life, she thought.
When young, crossing fields to get to school, marked by burr and brush, scraping her hands over the wild grains and grasses, she had rubbed the sandpaper of her palms on the heads and sparked grains into fire. She had watched thousands of individual flames erupt, each stalk in separate combustion and she the ignition switch.
Lightning, the fire department said, or static, not knowing the girl had stood, mesmerized, before running out of the field down the street to school, and now stands thirty years later, her palms testing the heat at the tops of the grains, eyes closed, desiring one more time for lightning to strike.
Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, and works in mental health. He has work in Atticus Review, Clare Literary Journal, Peacock Journal, and Per Contra. He has been nominated for the Best of the Net.