Lindsay Hunter

We were walking the backyard. Pacing it out. One, we said. Two. And on and on. It's true, we told our brothers, this backyard's a grave. In the window our mother's face fell. She waved a hand at the ax. We took turns and soon the tree slumped against the fence. Our brothers carried it on their backs and offered its heart to our mother. We're hungry, they said. We're starved. Our mother's eyes didn't meet ours and our brothers put the tree back on its stump. We watched it fall again. Again, our brothers said, and we said, one. Two. Our brothers axed a hole in the ground and jumped in. We pushed the dirt over them. The neighbor's swingset creaked and moaned next door and we heard a child's voice say Never ever. We planted the ax in the mound over our brothers. The axblade was bloody with dirt. We tried to see ourselves in it. In the window our mother forked stars into a piecrust, said See, this is also a grave.