University of W
Sean Lovelace

Lots of blood I remember. The students stumbling in from the chicken houses. A feather stuck to his ball cap, to her sweating neck. The students took the secretaries out on the weekends (the husbands at some convention/auto show/deer camp) and all they had in that town was drinking/driving/fucking in whatever order or combination and you should have seen the spectacular hairpin curve fireball three a.m. beer bottles flailing limbs/throbs/hubcaps metallic screams and sirens and the sorry howls of scampering dogs. Corn fields in climaxes of flame. And then all the blood. Mondays the whole county would smell of skunk and rust. The students would mourn, shuffling so slowly and these long meandering tracks of blood all across the campus. Scree, scrawl, spire, starve, scarlet, sole... six words I scribbled into a notebook at the time. Not exactly sure why. Maybe I thought the whole world was made of ballet dancers, you know, the toes get injured, cracked and bent and bleeding, but no, I was wrong. It was just ordinary blood. Sometimes so bright, arterial. Sometimes dry, flaking, little brittle leaves, in hallway corners, at the eyelids of doors. I taught the 099 classes. You don't get any credit hours for 099. We would sit there all day trying to strangle a semicolon. Maybe two nods, once a raised hand, for the bathroom. All our hearts beating. What else? Pickup trucks, shotgun husks, the laughing tongues of dogs, the torn red clay. Blood. On Fridays this man would push across campus a giant wooden cross balanced on a little wheel. He would shout, "Do you know why this cross is so damn big? Huh? Because you people can't see for shit!" Then he would tell some terrifying story. The students would walk on by. Would remove some clothing, flash some sunburnt skin. Or they might text or smile or glow at one another. Might wink and say, Shhh... calm down. It's only blood.