Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 23

of the train. She made it all the way to the switch operator’s hut, who controlled the traffic between the remaining towns on the line, but he would not let her pass and instead drove her back to her neighborhood, empty handed. In the Jeep she pressed her forehead to the window and watched the world pass by: where once there were forests now only blighted bogs of blackened birches crouching in stagnant water, broken spears pointing at the roiling clouds above, no defense, no protection.

When she got home Rice went to her closet and pulled out her tools and climbed down to the sparse yard. First she ripped from its hinges the door that led to the empty flat below hers, then scrounged around inside for anything she could use. A mildewy carpet covered the entire floor instead of the hardwood boards she expected, shattered linoleum strewn about the kitchen. So she took her saw and cut the legs off of several tables and hauled the remains outside, where with a makeshift work table comprised of the door and two trashcans she set about constructing a memorial from the parts and pieces of someone else’s abandoned life.

When she finished the structure looked more like a doghouse than a shrine to a lost loved one, but she stationed it at the head of the weeds and dead grass and placed the wedding photo inside the cut-out door, so that though bodiless he would still have a place to call home.

Season

It was so cold on the moon. Every morning the blanket of space encapsulated the globe and every night it was the same, and in the distance maybe you could see the sunlight reflected off Earth but you could not see for the clouds where the people lived because that planet that atmosphere

Morgan Fox | 23