A Dismantling
J.A. Tyler

He places in envelopes the brown skeletons of leaves. In the mail, the stamp adhered, the return address a place upon the sun. Run boy, run. Gape his mouth and watch those eyes of his, their yellow mold, the grey skirts about his ankles. The thin branch of his arms as they unbury one leaf at a time out from under cinderblock and rubble, from beneath the crushing dusting of all who came before. History. This our history. The sky line wishes of toppled skyscrapers. The broken glass. The wind. Grapple with his hands, the spiny fingers, his reaching down and into a pile, to pull a dried leaf from its throat, a remnant. He lays it in an envelope, licks the flap, posts the mail. The box is full, the letters have not been retrieved, they gather there, huddling in each other's paper arms.
Tumble down the wind into his cavities, his breathing when he opens his mouth, the coating of concrete that forms in him. Rasp and breathe, his lungs paper-weights, holding him in. The boy scrambling atop the slabs, over the slants and angles, smelling for autumn, searching. Seasons that never return. One leaf at a time, one leaf to an envelope, the scavenged charred squares, the burnt stamps. The worthlessness, the boy in his pursuits. He remains. Pries a metal cacophony from off a tangle and palms the floor beneath. No leaf, no leaves, he moves on. This is the grey. This is the home. Sleep boy, sleep. Lay that head down, there is no such thing as weakness. The leaves will be there, will remain, when you find the way back.