What You Need to Know [about An Unnamed Town in Rural Missouri]

By: Hannah Cajandig-Taylor

Catfish swim only in the manmade lakes. Woods carry dead deer & geese shit & blooming dogwoods & bluebirds with cracking voices. Cornfields, tornadoes, creek-beds & green skies can drop down from anywhere. Fireflies. So many fireflies & photo shoots on fire escapes & big oak trees near the swamped river land, where a tiny shed with string lights sells Thai food on muggy-aired summer evenings. People worship Friday Night Lights & build churches that somehow always stand adjacent to at least one other church. Wasp bites pressed with pennies to cull the sting. Gas station dreams       separated by chain link fences & water towers painted in rust. Enough mosquito bites to lose track of during the infant days of summer. This is what you get. A grandmother refuses to purchase a Christmas tree because they’ve gone out of style, so she decorates a fake palm tree in a terracotta pot & crowds it with papered boxes & stockings with popcorn balls & oranges & plastic toothbrushes in cardboard packages. Winter still
            ebbs & flows. Even after the snow swallows them
                        there’s nothing remarkable                
                                     about the endless silos
                                                  the abandoned barn after abandoned barn
                                                               all splintered & weathered
                                                                            they always tell the same story
                                                                                          & you never listen
                                                                                                         long enough to hear it.

Hannah Cajandig-Taylor is a poet and flash writer residing in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she reads for Passages North and Fractured Lit. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bending Genres, Waxwing, Sonora Review, and Gigantic Sequins, among others. She’s been nominated for a Best Small Fictions and a Best Microfiction, but her proudest accomplishment is completing almost every Nancy Drew computer game in existence. She is the author of ROMANTIC PORTRAIT OF A NATURAL DISASTER (Finishing Line Press, 2020). Find her on twitter @hannahcajandigt.