You Go Behind the Sun—

by Joel Kopplin

Maybe hate instead of sadness; maybe a mower blade tied tight with a tangle of rope. The dog died this morning after days of digging earth, lying against a hollow in the yard because the sun shone all day and the days before that. By noon he was buried with the same earth he scattered to see if he could escape. He did not escape. Or maybe he did. But the mower still lay on its side, blade still bound up with the rope it sucked under until there was smoke, until the heat was such that he had to sit in the garage. He sits in the garage and he sprays spray to scare the skeets but they still come, they still suck on him and he still swats and makes splotches on his shirt and shoulders. Sometimes he holds a hand up to the light to watch one feed, watches it get dark with blood and bangs it, makes a mess he likes, little legs like threads. By three thirty, clouds, storm winds, the smell. Winds rush the grass which grew too high before he cut it but then the blade got jammed with rope she left lying around after she unbound the body, let it down slow from the ceiling and sat so she could weep. Her boy. She sat all day until it was dark and stayed quiet, is quiet still, downstairs playing solitaire and smoking cigarettes with the shades down. He, however, must tend to the things that she forgets. The yard don't cut itself—it does grow goddammit. The dogs get hungry. One ran off for somewhere and the other one dug his own ditch like he knew, like he knew everyone was dying. The winds rush on the grass and the trees, and some of those tipped and smashed the south end of the house, smashed the shitty roof and the sliding glass doors for the porch that does not exist. She still says nothing. The boy's body in the yard out back because he drug it down there so he could have his turn to weep. He held his boy's body in his hands, held his palms around the neck where it was raw. He stood and left it because he will burn him later. When he gathers the loose twigs and branches and some scattered rows of leaves, some hollowed trunks, he'll put them on the burn pile and take care of it. The boy's car kept his things, some things sit in the windshield and he can see it from where he sits even if the sun is now hidden behind some clouds, even if the wind does distract him—the whoosh of the grass and leaves like the ocean. He will sit and watch the wind a moment more and then he should get back to the grass, which is way too long. When the month is over fall will be close, and he will have to handle these things though for what for who knows now.

bio for Kopplin.