Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 30

Cranes | Bill Vernon

The dark morning made me shiver. This was supposed to be spring! I hunkered deeper inside my coat.

‘Just yell,’ Mom said. ‘Hurry, now, or you'll miss the bus.’

‘Okay.’

I hustled down the driveway. Last night's storm had ended three days of rainy weather. So where was the predicted sunny day? I wasn't prepared to be happy about this. A thick fog surrounded me. I picked up the pace and kicked gravel, hands full carrying three textbooks and a lunch bag. At the low spot where the driveway turned toward South West Street, the flood Mom was afraid of had drained. I turned my head toward the house, totally hidden in the fog. ‘It's all clear to drive on!’

‘Okay!’ Mom yelled back. The front door slammed and silence reigned. Then I remembered another low spot ahead. Damn! If it was flooded, I'd have to run back to the house to tell her. I jogged until I reached the spot. It too was clear of water.

Which let me relax and notice something odd: something tall over to my left among last year's milkweeds. Maybe the storm's strong winds last night had dropped something. In the fog it looked ghostly. Maybe something off somebody's roof.

I took several steps toward it off the driveway, and my feet submerged, pooled water, but I also clearly saw that it was a crane on one leg, head and long neck twisted around, collapsed between its wings. The fog swirled, thinned, and six more cranes, all on one leg, sleeping, appeared around me. I edged away toward the street. The

fog shifted, and I suddenly faced one preening itself. It stared at