loess hills

They come every year, Margot says. Well, they started coming about ten years ago but since then they’ve come every year – some farmers spray for them, some don’t, she shrugs,

her eyes bug / out / of her pink-flushed / face. So the Japanese beetles[1] “come” : there’s got to be at least twenty five thousand in here, I speculate, just scattered / around the house –

Not including inside the walls? she responds, those black eyes darting around the place. Maybe if you were to include inside the walls… But really? You think, twenty-five thousand? she sounds / defensive, kind of the same tone as when I had said, ew-w! These bugs are so disgusting, stressing out the second syllable gust in all its sibalance.



Fake houses. Houses made of thin material, so there are cracks and holes bored straight through plaster, so large that Margot has stuck feathers in the places where the holes are. We pronounce Castana like we are Spaniards. Margot laughs. My family would laugh so hard if they could hear you. We call it Cast-anna. You keep pronouncing it like it was Mexican, fancy. Margot. Rubbing her body I feel like it is the earth…  She stares at me with bright eyes, like wondering what I will do next – bright eyes, as if she cannot read me. I’ve begun to laugh at everything that happens, because how else can I respond? although Margot, I believe, believes that I am laughing at her – what’s funny?/, she will ask with her bright / eyes …




You know what’s really good? If you put toast

in the toaster and make bread and then put some butter and some of that jelly on top…. and, One time Ruca swallowed a rabbit in two bites. It was really funny. Because we were having a party. It was my Mom & Dad’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary – so everyone was there. She swallowed it in two bites. First the hind legs. The back, so the front – it’s head was still poking out, and then, gulp, she swallowed the other half. And she didn’t get sick or anything. How am I supposed to respond to that?


Margot. Navy blue sweatpants with moth holes, a Black Sabbath tee shirt with moth holes. Wire-rimmed glasses: the glare bounces off the lens. Hiding rectangles cut from her face in rectangles of reflection. A plain face; features, fine; childish, although that could be the glasses or the un-made / up bright eyes, bright and very, very open  … – unmasked. “I need something to eat” : a cheeseburger patty, with everything. Afterwards, a chocolate malt and a giant horse pill, orange. When it’s time for bed, an Ambien. I’m feeling anxious. Do you want an Ambien?Margot offers.



the night of the day we tripped

acid i cried in bed as we fell

asleep. why are you crying? nigh

asked and i said, i am not sad,

i just feel like crying. it is a lot, a lot

to take in.


that there are coyote beds a mere one hundred yards from where we sleep. to sleep next to coyotes – to be their neighbors, to share the land with them, the animals, the many colors that were out there. so many colors, and all / muted / white, and tinctures of purples, and pinks. Oranges,

blue. Walking through the brush. Scraping /

my face against those heavy, beady branches : dark / twigs of a deep dulled sparkling

brown. Pigments, dense, held /

the entirety of the earth’s age. The hours slip /

away, as does

all the weighing.

We are tied to the earth, like

fetuses, floating,


to our Mother by the cord that affords us space to float but ultimately contains us within her dark and electric fluids, the cave –

–       the clockhands evaporated,

and we follow

the twigs, which are dancing, and the trees, which are lifting





have i talked about the earth. when i described it to margot, i kept saying, it’s so earthy here, like everyting is made up of the earthy earthy earth. i still can’t find better words to describe it. i try to break it down with nigh. what makes this earthy look so earthy? rarely do i consider the place where I am standing to be the earth. rarely do I think about the fact that my feet are planted on the solid ground of that strange orb planet

earth. but here it is impossible not to. perhaps it is the way that the streets are unpathed, even in the big towns like Castana; or if they are pathed, they are bumpy and packed down soil like leathery

backs. Or perhaps it is because the land is very flat – nigh is extending his hand now, levelling it with the horizon, and squinting his vision, so you can see it extend forever. but at the same time there are a lot of little hills –

hillocks, I add –

so it gives the impression of height, like we’re looking down at the land from a greater height, this land that extends forever.


this land that extends forever.


this land that extends forever.



The sorrowful mooncut of her face.


This land that extends forever.




The sorrowful mooncut of her face. Long brown hair, straightish, bangs blunt. His old Youtube videos are playing on a loop from his laptop, which he’s set up for mood /

music on the slanting linoleum floor: brown tile and specks. Sometimes the realization hits. For example. Tonight, when I’d said there were few instances where I’d ever felt as if I had no say in the matter – which was why his leukemia scare was so terrying and yet unbelievable, as if I hadn’t know what to do with it, how to react.

And he’d said, I don’t know, I guess I don’t have that problem –

I’ve always tended / to be pretty strong.[2]





Telling you the numbers can barely help you conjure the mass: by the end of it, I was wearing my skintight green leotard dress for the third, maye fourth, day in a row, and I had basically tons of ladybug

shells just mashed into my outfit.

(It was from doing headstands – or getting my knees propped up on my elbows (exposing my ass to the ceiling

and the vision of nigh

and margot’s eyes – and then rolling     toppling      down, crumpling my

spine, crimping my

 neck, down I

fell, into the rug, which was littered with ladybugs: dead, alive, and half-


Half-dead. I didn’t even care anymore – what you learn to do, you learn to just think about the lady-bugs as part of nature, part of the world: as if that could make it alright to cover yourself in ladybug shells.

Learning to co-exist with non-human animals, and nature. The natural balance, nigh called it – he is a sucker for that stuff. After we saw the beds – the beds for the animals,…



drooping brown slanty floors low ceilings muted colors seventies, i don’t know you could say that – nigh says,

when i saw that i am having trouble describing the weirdness that magical weirdness of the house –


i don’t know if it sounds beautiful yet. and a rickety house, with ceilings that were very low so you had to bend down as if you were in a funhouse or a dollhouse or a fakehouse, a playhouse, and very thin too so that there were big holes and cracks crackling down the walls of the kitchen so big that margot stuck big feathers that she found on the road into the holes,

and wall paper plastered on in strips both vertical and sideways and like three different types of wallpaper running horizontally against the walls and in guady designs but still all muted colors, flowers or aztec zigzags, and furniture straight out of the 1970s and everything like a photograph from the 1970s i mean muted colors and sort of faded looking and hazy, the entire house like a haze, and then the ladybugs – dried up ladybug shells and ladybugs that were alive but were on their backs and squiggling their legs and some ladybugs mounted on top of each other doing it just a few inches from your face because your head is on the ground doing a headstand and

and a few but not many alive, walking amidst the dead bodies of their

fellowkind like soldiers walking back from the battle field, alert to what’s left alive in this parade of dead bodies,

corpses –

so many ladybugs: you could not escape them:

along the walls: just the doorframe between the living room and the sun room had at least one hundred, we did a measured estimate – now multiply that by all the little colonies there are around the house: in every room – maybe every corner – a whole nother fucking colony of them –


that’s how we got to twenty-five thousand.



…   you do what you do and i’ll do what i need

 to do to take care of myself, she said in a sort of comedic snappy voice: she sashayed to the freezer

and returned with the leftover of her sucked on chocolate milkshake: frozen thin paper cup plastic spoon with melted and then refrozen, waxy-looking ice cream.

but then she gets sad-looking, again, after she has returned to under the covers and stares, propped up, watching me do headstands and nigh try. we return to her, and I get under the covers. what do you want to do? nigh says. we all know that she is feeling sad.


can we do this

again? she says, like a brave little kid being brave after an injury. i liked it when we were doing this.

she holds out a finger,

 and watches as she lets a ladybug run laps around her finger.

it’s a very slow moment: we pause, and watch

this tiny animal, who seems not to even acknowledge our presence – like when margot kept moving the ladybug next to the tipped-over, slowly-dying-on-its-side, blue bottle – and the fly was making circles on its linoleoum resting place, trying to move away from the mouth of the ladybug – and it would move slowly because the ladybug for whatever reason was having trouble carrying that heavy body

away to eat – but then as soon as the fly move and the ladybug, so stupid, forgot

that it was there as soon as it was out of its direct path – then margot – who, this entire time was hovering

above the scene – would swoop her little fingers in and pick up the fly and sort of nudge the ladybug so the ladybug would wake up and begin to try to eat the blue bottle

again, so we could watch    them  fight



[2] This is about money.


About earthyearth

from brooklyn, nebraska.

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