The drought had been exceptionally brutal the past few years so Uncle Ray, having had a decent run, decided to offer himself up. We buried him in the yard early that spring, chopped him into four mostly equal-sized pieces and dug holes near the east, west, north, and southern facing corners of the lawn. We sprinkled dried marigold petals mixed with conifer dust into the holes, and kneeling, said our prayers and went back to bed. Uncle Ray must have interceded for us, because soon after, the rains came slow and steady before finally going full on torrential. We had a magnificent harvest that summer, corn up to the power lines, beans strong as chisel plows, zucchini plants spread out for miles, pumpkins the size of twenty or more head of cattle—the sweet peas wound their way past Aunt Ida’s house and into the neighbor’s chicken coops. But the most miraculous occurrence of all was the way the youngest children, having hitherto known only hardship, suddenly sprouted the most glorious wings and peeling away out of our arms, lifted off and left us for more friendly and temperate environs.
Jody Kennedy’s writing and photography have appeared or are forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Electric Literature’s Okey-Panky, Rattle, the Rumpus, and the Georgia Review, among others. She lives in Provence, France.