A. Fletcher

We walked out of the farmhouse in the small hours of the morning when the light was blue and dark, covering the scrub oaks and dry river beds down along the blanket of the plain. A small ember of coal shone in the cast iron belly of the room and we harnessed the rich dark saddles shining where work covers had penetrated the dull coat of fabrication, sheathed our rifles, wrapped boiled eggs in our changing towels and mounted our horses before daylight. We wandered for years throughout the dust and lightning storms, hail and south swells, to work jobs where we could earn pay, eat where we could find hunger, and lay down at night to fall into the nether spaces of rest where the tides were always fine and we had fires and after-surf snacks and could talk about finding trim. The whiskey from tin cups told us to quit the plain for the thought of piling the wrought iron and worn leather in a heap next to heavy block planes, paintings, and resin and glass next to a glimmer of green toobs, and screenplays under coils of barbed wire for which our sunburned and salt-weathered spirits, like hand-forged nails driven through hand-sawn lumber, begged collection.

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N. Boyd

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