Consider this an apocalypse. Not a McCarthy apocalypse, but a you and me apocalypse. End Times where we have a farmhouse atop a hill in one of those abandoned Dakotas. That farmhouse, we went sore just making it ours. The cannibals next door watch us hold our son in the air and zip him around the yard like a rocket ship. They document us and write poems about it all. On weekends, I travel west to find mountains for our backyard. We have no wi-fi at our farmhouse, but I can still use my iPhone to take pictures of you with a front porch sunset backlight. I document your strawberry blonde hair blending blue with 7 o’clock invading stars. I turn wheat stalk from front-yard meadow earth into neckline jewelry for you. Everyday, the neighbor cannibals come to our door with their mouth knives and stink, and we give them cheese from our goats in exchange for another day. Be careful how many times you eat your way through a sky, you say to me every time. You could end up a cannibal in someone else’s story. I learned to hunt but never hunt. I just play Yahtzee with you after supper. Even if we ran out of scoresheets and have been using the body of a dead tree for some time now. When the generator is on the fritz, I Fonzie smack the glow back into it. The kiddo likes listening to Hank Williams Sr. on the crank record player, as long as we let him do the cranking. Sometimes he asks what the Midwest was like, and sometimes we tell him picture us dancing together in a heavy rain and then you’ll know. Around here, there’s nothing in sight to break for miles except the mornings and hearts, if our apocalypse left us any. It’s all just sky and ground and me and you. It’s always me and you. And if the mountains ever start questioning their kidnapping, we will give them cheese from our goats in exchange for another day.
Matt Mitchell was an extra in Stand By Me and lives in Columbus, Ohio. He is the author of The Neon Hollywood Cowboy (Big Lucks, 2021) and tweets @matt_mitchell48.
image: Matt Mitchell