When I arrived, the music changed—all notes go silent: the only thing audible is the hum of a soft rain, constant though we are inside, and for a moment it is peaceful, something we can sleep through, something that makes us turn off everything else so we can hear water on windows, on slanted roofs. You appear in a flicker, fast strobe first, then slowing to a gentle spin, arms out stretched and palms upward like you are receiving something—that someone who loves you will place a gumdrop into your hand so you can close your fingers around the jeweled sugar and place it between your teeth in a dirty scarfing.
This is where the lightning starts: dry heat from the sky and into your hands leaving burn marks on skin, smoothing over heart lines like you have no heart, though I know it is there. The bolts, jagged like raised veins come together in front of your stomach and slice towards where I am standing, speechless. The outcome is uncertain: the voltage runs over my body like a pulped orange turning everything I am into something I am not, or it doesn’t. The current springs back upon you, knocking your helmet off of your head to reveal a face like mine, or it doesn’t. The wind changes direction: I know this because I cannot stand still—I must pick up what is left, I must hold your blackened hands. I know this because for once I can see the rain slanted downwards: falling in grey lines like the ghosts of our loved ones shooting towards the earth.
Brian Oliu is originally from New Jersey and currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His work has been published in Hotel Amerika, New Ohio Review, Ninth Letter, Sonora Review, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere. His collection of Tuscaloosa Craigslist Missed Connections, So You Know It's Me is available through Tiny Hardcore Press.