Contents | Joanne Hart »

Josh Milberg

REMORYAL

 

THEY EXITED THE PLANE, briefcases behind, dirt rod hot and nuclear still. HALFLIVES they hailed, only men left. Their ties, still fastened fat and dimpled, flapped in the wind like flags or sock. BOMB was painted with big strokey B’s. Haste made red by the stump short straggler. His frizzle peaked from neckringed cotton, the hairs like vines away from dirt. BOMB titled the beachbeached shell and the B’s curved buxom around and around. None of the men were set on search, not for women or whatever might be. They were the last, a tribe of few, slant for setup, already in thought who would cook, who to fix. Chef, fixer, fisher, accountant. They would lead lives new and anew. They, like the plane, would don new names. TORR, LUN, ZHOOZHOO, LIGHKE. They scribbled their flesh, twigs to their arms. There was bare, what they allowed. The short one, Mike, died early on. His tie was taken and tied to shrub. Free of leaves from the outfall they thought. LUN said REMORYAL and prayed for the after, taller and longer than what life he’d known. But the body stayed stank, shrunk and shriveled. None knew the cause, heat or height, old world paint. They left him as was, sleeves still on and no name carved into his arm. The night of the funeral, the tide was high and the nine left well danced in the night. One sung low. His voice carried tune and the moon looked big, moonso above. The moon cycled plenty before it got its and pebbles dotted the name of the shore. They knew it impossible but decided toward project. Lighke proposed one, crouched under shelter—none could stand the acidsting rain. Staring toward names born from rolled cuff, he said, TO THE MOON and construction began. Tower after tower stickbuilt straight up. Sturdy enough to carry stones, better than huts in series too high. The towers made cause to keep life civil while Mike got shorter, dryer and smaller. Microbes fared worse than food they would eat so heat took its toll toward kiln and keeper. Mike remained nameless despite the memorial and, in spite of the falls, none died awhile. Crookset bones and namenamed arms marked the men who wanted the moon. They had ties and fished for their food. After some time, before KALENDAY came, KEL said to KLE, EVERYTHING WE KNOW HAS A NEW NAME, EVERYTHING SINCE WE BEGAN TO GIVE NAMES. WHAT IS THE MOON? WHAT DO WE CALL IT? All of them broke and agreed to a vote. Devised to the dirt silent and separate, each conjured thought of the man that they missed, how he nor the moon had handle to herald, yet each was worth wanting, to hope toward and trust. Each HALFLIFE left was scribe and survivor. Each set toward summit, ensuring sure death. The next night they met where the plane first landed, struck single file an arrow or line. Finally the fire where flames licked sky, they knew now the name, what they would write.

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