Ray Freed

What was left of the road was shell
pocked and counters ticked fast
as Spanish Rs. Rad suits kept us safe.
This is BurnTown now, Boston before,
summer all year but not a leaf grows
or has since Turnaround. Small tribes
camp around here raising game to eat

and it shows in their offspring,
disfigured every which way. Slippers
got mystical here in ’18 and started
the Chollies, they believe God made
what happened happen and they’re in
regular contact with Him and don’t
miss a chance to let us know what He

says. Red flag that. Before folly Slippers
was a Sensor, he could tell when quakes
were coming and he was in demand, mostly
out West, of course West is further East
than before, the Mappers still haven’t got
it right because it hasn’t settled yet.
We’ve heard the fish are coming back.

Jansen flagged the Merlots instead of
passing on the beat, the blast shook
down the low walls and ruptured our

holding tanks. We’re hanging out off
the long limb until help arrives. Barter’s
out, we’ve tithed most of the children

and breed 11 year olds to replenish.
A year old baby’s worth a moon’s food,
two of them food and water both.

The rains are dirty brown, a curse
brought by the two-leggers.
Four-leggers live in harmony.

Runners bring news of strays beyond
the low hills but this is mirage,
same as water in the distance.

The old days fade from memory as
the old ones die. No one is sure now
what it was like then. A sadness is over us


We started like usual, four Junkos and
an air sleigh, and things went smooth
until the messages stopped coming.
I knew we had trouble when the first
Marker rose, blossoming in the night
like a celestial chandelier. The howl
was deafening and hurt to the bone.

My Feeler broke out and took off till it was
a shadow in the mist, and right away
it was a question of either or. The crew
was ripe for life and we huddled,
determined to pull through to the
next station. Who knows who runs things?
Not me, for sure. On the third day, before

fastover, the children grouped as one and
powered us forward slick as eels on ice,
who would have thought. There’s just no
telling. One day it’s pleated cliffs above
pounding surf and the next you wake up
in a bed full of bananas. Josie is our
rememberer and she’ll sing a full report.

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