Lisa Marie Basile
and Nick Winkworth


By Nick Winkworth

Inspiration Piece

Sky Burial

By Lisa Marie Basile


This was day three, Sunday, August. The soft steam of earth rises quietly over the water. He sees it from where he stands at the old gas station. Ivy has greened across the empty tanks, the pumps glimmering with strange weeds. Old tires sit in stacks against the far stucco wall, where a dead air pump wraps around a strange forgotten bird feeder. He listens quietly to a freight train in the distance, somewhere near the West where the sun is setting. He knows the sound well, this being the only home he’s ever had ― along this strange slate belt nestled near the sky.

A women walks by, a vulture on her shoulder. Tight ruffled white shorts wrap along the contours of her thighs. She is speckled in cellulite, old sun marks, odd marks. She is perfect, he thinks from where he stands in the middle of the gas station. He squints and cocks his head so the sun doesn’t get in the way of her.  Still, he thinks, she is beautiful ― the way her black hair falls tousled to her middle back. The way she walked with that vulture.

He decides to follow her. In his back pocket, a small brown book filled with every dream he’s ever have on Sundays since he was a young boy. The gas station had never been paved, not after it had closed. The asphalt, pulled up by time and pitted with bumps, catches him as he tries to hurry behind the girl with the panties and vulture.

He watches her as she walks, the way her spine resembles jewels more than bones; she wears herself as jewelry. The way she steps with wild legs. She walks quickly, propelled by her height. In her, he sees ghosts.

“Why are you following me?” she says. She doesn’t turn back. She keeps walking, keeps stepping over daisies growing from the sidewalk on the edge of this lone highway rounding a tall mountain. In the distance, he hears the blades of grass whistle. Then the vultures come, and they both stand to face the sun.

They are coming from the red waters, where white sands creep from the land.

My dream exactly, he says. He remembers day three, August, that summer he blossomed into seventeen. He remembers the way his face changed that morning, when the dream became real. He can see himself waking up in his bed, looking out of the window toward where red waters converged with the white sands, pulling the reflections of the vultures into the water.

In this moment, he sees them again. They form a strange circle around the two of them ― these almost strangers. In perfect grace, they swoop down painting the sky black. Just a streak of black. He shields his face, but remembers this from his dreams.

The girl was there too, he remembers, this carnival girl.

He watches the vultures hover just above their heads. They appear to be longing to leave, but in forced duty they swoop down to lay the carnival girl out on the ground. She does not cry, not that he can can her. She does not move ― no, she lets them have her. And when they vultures leave, she is only bones and a ribbon of hair. Her spine, made from emeralds and garnets, looks like the color of water near the white sand.


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One Comment

  1. Posted October 31, 2010 at 7:32 pm | #

    Entering a dream via pictures and words! Lovely!