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Flash Fiction: “Jerome”

It is an empty copper camp in the Black Hills. It is where I take you on a road without radio, driving on an incline passing red rock and a woman selling turquoise from a blanket on the highway. We come around a sharp turn, through valleys of wildflowers tucked into the dips of the mountain, and see the sky. Desert skies are different than skies in other places. They are open and luminous and endless – I thought maybe you, too, were bright, and we, too, could be – might be – endless.

The court that has squabbled for months in my head has chosen the jury. We will burn or blossom in this heat, but you do not know this. How could you?

We take pictures of these: deli sandwiches, stray cats, ghost mining shafts, Arizona hillside, the art we love so much, each other.

In these photos, you are with this open sky sipping iceless Coke with your arms outstretched on cliffs. You were hearing music I did not, from a haunted block in Jerome, the narrow ghost town.

I see light in these collected pieces that we are carrying down the mountain, but the printed pictures cast, too, new shadows.

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