Psychopomp Magazine Spring 2016 - Page 28

& the NVA are barely outside the border of our base, and our pilots have been trying to drive them back by dropping bombs on them from planes overhead, while us men on the ground are holding what little ground we have, but we're running out of supplies. We can't leave the trenches for fear of being picked off, and we're almost out of artillery, which, for us, has become more essential to survival than food or water

& we do not believe what our mothers have told us. We sprint to the treehouse, denying that the smoke rising above the trees is coming from our tree. We hesitate for a moment, looking at one another, wondering if there is some sort of spell we can cast, something to reverse time or get rid of the fire. But smoke continues to mount above the trees. We break into a run towards our treehouse and only stop when we see the very thing we are refusing to believe. At the base of the old oak that holds our treehouse, we look up to see it aflame, consumed in fire and crackling as it spreads to the outer limbs of the oak tree.

Where the fire has already spread, we can see limp and blackened tree branches, just as dead as its leaves that have fallen. Spellbound and helpless, we watch it burn from below, the sight fixing us to the spot, grabbing hold of us with smoky arms and holding us so still that roots grow from our toenails into the soil of the woods of our backyards.

Firemen stand at the base of the tree wielding hoses, destroying our treehouse with torrents of water. Julie stands behind Rachel and me, kicking at the ground.

They've got to stop, says Rachel. They're ruining our treehouse.

28 | Psychopomp Magazine