Red Dust

By: Katie Stevenson

The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard, awakening me from dreams of the house being mine. Curious, and heart seizing with worry, I follow the sound, to the porch where I promised myself that I would live here while looking over at the forest that coddles the back yard. But that forest—that forest that I heard the cicadas cry from and where little things and big things of life stalked and roamed—is now nothing but red dust.

Buzzing, hungry machinery denigrates the shade—the barrier between highway and home. Saws carve at great trunks that are too big to be pushed over by bulldozers, their sprays of woodchips absorbed by the red. And as it falls—as it all falls, tears stain my dusty cheeks. The great whoomphs as the trees smack the ground, I feel it like a great punch to the chest. The snapping branches as they cave under the weight, the same sound and feeling of my soul breaking and twisting.

My heart breaking for just yesterday, where in the watery sunlight that made the green of the trees baby new and the shadows set by them over the pool, dark as sapphire, I promised myself that I would live in this house. Raise my kids in the same rooms as my siblings and I, sit them in the same kitchen, keep the band aids just where they were then, build them a playset where mine once was.

But that place, that view, that dream, is now nothing but red, red dust.

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