• I wanted something that I could look back on and say, yes, you were fighting too, you burned to be alive, and whatever failure or accident of nature caused you to be killed could be explained by something other than the fact that I'd missed your giving up

    Kevin Powers
  • When we neared the orchard a flock of birds lit from its outer rows. They hadn't been there long. The branches shook with their absent weight and the birds circled above in the riddy mackerel sky, where they made an artless semaphore. I was afraid, I smelled copper and cheap wine. The sun was up, but a half-moon hung low on the opposite horizon, cutting through the morning sky like a figure from a child's pull-tab book.We were lined along the ditch up to our ankles in a soupy muck. It all seemed in that moment to be the conclusion of a poorly designed experiment in inevitability. Everything was in its proper place, waiting for a pause in time, for the source of all momentum to be stilled, so that what remained would be nothing more than detritus to be tallied up. The world was paper-thin as far as I could tell. And the world was the orchard, and the orchard was what came next. But none of that was true. I was only afraid of dying

    Kevin Powers
  • I've come to accept that parts of life are constant, that just because something happens on two different days doesn't make it a goddamn miracle

    Kevin Powers
  • I looked out the window and saw the street and railroad tracks, the woods beyond. Beyond the woods, the county of which they were a part. And so on, until it all dissolved into the larger thing: my mother's house becoming every other house as I once had seen it, sitting atop the southern end of a broad river valley, close enough to the the mountains that every few years a scared black bear would wander down into the remaining forest, and close enough to the ocean that those early English settlers took it as the farthest point they'd go upstream, the geology of the place preventing them from having any choice other than the one wherein they said, "We are lost; therefore we will call this home." And close enough that as a child I had been teased by older kids who said if I only tried hard enough I would smell salt water, and I, believing, stood among the light poles and the gulls in the parking lots of A&Ps and cried when I knew that it was true despite the fact that they had meant to lie, as children sometimes do

    Kevin Powers
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