I’m currently chasing a shot of whiskey with a fancy blood-orange beer and listening to Billie Holiday sing about burned bodies swinging from a tree.
I turn on the tv (flags, megaphones, fear) and I wonder about my future.
A picture appears in my mind. An old man on his front deck, drinking lemonade with his great-grandchildren. I’d like that.
Ninety-four years old, I hold the young August in my arms as his mother organizes hide-and-seek for twenty-seven cousins. I look up to the red painted wood of a large barn and watch Billie’s silhouettes swinging in the afternoon breeze. Their charred skin flakes onto the ground below.
I want to be a writer one day. I want to have a beautiful wife and a baby and a place in the country. I want to make the world a better place.
As I watch, a man drives his car into a crowd of protesters. He kills a paralegal who was afraid to go to the rally.
I close my eyes.
Whiskey burns my throat, a magnolia tree offers strange fruit and I try to remember I believe in love.
Artwork: “Billie Holiday – Southern Trees Bear a Strange Fruit” by Jimi Jones