Under the Shade of a Sequoia by Charles L. Crowley

I dug up my time capsule, and then shook hands with my seven-year-old self. Together we looked at old pictures of us—you and me—and were reminded of your sunflower dress … my overalls … and the way we couldn’t smile without showing all of our teeth …

I stood there—days ago—brother.

Today I fumble with my sunglasses while trying to keep the car steady, headed forward, down the straight arrow highway that may lead me home eventually. Should there be an accident or storm or heart attack, I, perhaps, wouldn’t make it there. But, today, here and now on this road, I have yet to experience such a phenomenon.

Today I fumble with my sunglasses while thinking, if the solar center of our system sustains us, then why does it also cause us so much harm?

Slivers of light will seep through the dirt crusted over my windshield, somewhere, months from now. The seat belt buckles will glisten and our ghosts will be reminded of the days we spent separate–our bodies, time capsules for the others we’ve loved …

Why are you so far down the road away from me?

Why hadn’t I left that box—those pictures—buried?

Charles L. Crowley lives in Pasadena, California. His work has previously appeared in the West Wind literary journal and The Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles. When he’s not reading or writing, he’s watching Hesei era Godzilla films or playing shows with his band in dive bars and clubs.