Here is the mailman. Here is the dog. The mailman knows that, secretly, the dog loves him. What the mailman knows could fill the Grand Canyon; a voracious reader, the mailman. The dog is dimly aware of the theory of love that states, on the real line of love, from negative infinity to positive infinity, pure hate to pure love, a greater actual distance is traveled from negative to positive, and so she has begun her campaign to maim the mailman, but knows, in her vermiful heart, that one day she will love the mailman, and that great love will be all the greater because she started from a position of distaste, distrust, and antipathy. She anticipates the day when his hand will rest upon the crown of her head and move past the curve of her skull to smooth down her fur so slowly, but now, as the mailman closes the gate, she knows she must seek his hand with her teeth.

The Road to Responsibility

See the kid. Lemonade stand, four dollars a cup. You stop the car and shake your head. Four dollars? you ask. The kid smiles. Whistles once. Hey lady, he says, it's inflation. You're going to have to do better than that, you say. Hey lady, he says, my mom handed me lemons and told me that life likes a lemonista, so here I am, with four kids to feed of my own. Nice, you say, but I've heard that one before. The kid stops smiling. He takes off his shoes and ties the laces together, then throws the pair like bolas around the telephone wires that stretch across the street. I hunted and then skinned these lemons with my bare hands, the kid says. Listened to them yell as I squeezed them. I don't know if that's how you're supposed to make lemonade, but that's the only way I know how, he says. You pay him five dollars for a cup. Good luck, you say.

Given: Wood, Holes, and Beer

This deck. A wooden plane. Who knows the meaning of a deck? Perhaps it really is a logical extension of the house. It's the house's stuck-out tongue. A deck is the house's exertion of power over man's other love, the yard. Dominion over the yard. We're raised up a foot above the tops of the grass stalks. Ecologically speaking, that's the canopy of the yard. Where the exotic aphids dwell. And now we've roofed it with wood. Underneath the grass will wilt and wither and die. The deck's underbelly becomes a hadean rectangle inhabited by only the loneliest beetles, spiders, grubs, and worms. God save the hand that trespasses there to retrieve a ball or wayward Frisbee. What luxury for us though, who can sip margaritas, cook meat, inspect sunsets, sup in plain air, and think hard while on this artificial fundament. Bless this deck and all who stride upon it, in confidence or shame, in lust or hatred, in temperance or raging indulgence, in shorts or snow pants, in shod or bare feet, forever after until the time of heavenly decks.


Kevin Hyde's work has recently appeared in
Parcel, Big Fiction, and Burnt Bridge. He received his MFA from the University of Florida, and lives in Pennsylvania.

Art: Barry Stone,
Best General View, Wonder World, San Marcos, Texas, 2012, archival inkjet print, 34 x 51 inches.
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