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the kite stories

The Kite Stories is a body of work named for a series of vignettes I wrote based on dark yet whimsical childhood memories. These memories confront the realities of pain and death, filtered through the understanding of a child, using the landscape as a metaphor for my experience.  Scroll down to read "the kite stories" vignettes below. Click each square to view the full image.

the kite stories

Me and Alex and Dad flew a kite at the park across the street. I wanted to hold the kite all by myself. Alex got to. Dad finally let me. He said don’t let go! But the wind made the kite heavy and pulled it out of my hands. It flew into the lake. It was a red kite.

I went to play in the woods with Alex but I saw two eyes watching me from the bushes. I ran all the way back home and told Mom. She said I shouldn’t let a ‘possum scare me. But now I feel those eyes on me all the time.

Grandma told me her tummy is big like that cause she swallowed a watermelon. I bet that hurt.

Mrs. Vincent gets mad when we turn around and talk in line. She said if we do, she’ll take our mouths and sew them to the backs of our heads. She said it happened to a boy once. But that wouldn’t help. Then we could talk without turning around.

Me and Alex won some goldfish at the fair. We brought them home in baggies. Mom put them in Mason jars so they could swim around. And we fed them every day. But they still died. Mom gave us spoons to bury them in the garden. Just like we buried Alex in the mountain.

Mrs. Vincent told us our pictures were boring. She took my paintbrush and made a dippy sky. So I made a red sun. The other kids saw it and told Mrs. Vincent. She wanted to know why I didn’t make it yellow. I don’t paint red suns anymore.

It takes a long time to walk around the block to Emily’s house. So sometimes I walk the back fence instead. I have to be careful. I don’t want to fall.

Graham Glosser was riding his bike in the street. I saw the car knock him over. It bent his bike and he cried. There was blood in his hair.

Erin and Angie’s swing set fell over. Me and Alex wanted to go see. Dad said no. We sat on top of the fence and watched. Then Alex jumped into the yard. But he stayed by the fence. Then he went to see the swing set. So I followed him. We were right by our yard, but we still got in trouble.

Mom and Dad wanted us to go with them to the funeral home to see Alex. Abby sat on a chair outside and cried. Amanda and I sat on the couch across the room and watched. That’s not Alex. He’s too stiff. It isn’t him.

They shut the coffin and now I’ll never see Alex again. Mom stroked his hair and straightened his tie. She kissed his face. She told us to say goodbye too. I wanted to touch him, but that isn’t my brother. My brother is in the mountains.

We followed the coffin outside. His friends loaded it into the hearse. It was sunny and very cold.

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