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Jessica Lindsley

Patience of the Meteor

Under cover of darkness, we rode neon plastic sleds down the floodwall into the trees beside the river, landing in the drifts before the cattails. The night we lost her, her sailing silver-blurred moon-lit body crashing right through them onto the ice and then through it, trailing gleaming hair, we panicked. You cried, wanted to run. Bobby called the cops from the nearest payphone, then we huddled watching as the spinning lights of the medics and the strobes mounted on the police cars and the flashing lights atop the firetrucks changed the color of the neighborhood to red, to blue, to red, and highlighted and italicized the uniforms streaming back down the steep slope as shook their heads, as they didn't find a body, as they dredged the hole, and we still pretending that we had no knowledge, that I didn't have pliers in my pocket, that we didn't see her streak away from us like a meteor.

They found her body eventually. So many bodies, celestial and otherwise, escape that way, bobbing up the river. Each year the number grows. If this Red River were a house, it would be famously haunted, it would be featured on a mid-channel cable show of producers with questionable ethics and greedy ex-wives clamoring for alimony checks. To say nothing in consonants and vowels, just a long ice-plumed cemetery of waterlogged bodies as they become ephemeral and blow away, all those lonely animals that attempted to cross on the ice, had no patience to find the bridge.

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