June 22, 2012


The teak is carved and then formed around the skiff’s bulkheads and stringers. It has borne hours upon the pond, and sun-bleached months resting against the potting shed. Across the yard, the gambrel-roofed barn is filled with corn and alfalfa. The hayloft’s floor sags beneath its load of square bales. An oak rocking chair nods on the farmhouse’s back porch; the constant breeze sets the chair in nearly perpetual motion. Behind the rocker, a hunter’s longbow leans on clapboard siding.

At 3:22 in the afternoon on this day, August 18th, 1985, the bending of things stops for a brief fraction of time. The boat’s teak hull spreads open like a flower. The hayloft’s floor straightens so suddenly that it launches hay bales through the weathered roof and creates a golden-green fireworks display. A rain barrel explodes into sodden planks—quivering steel straps snake across the new mud, the cooper’s craft undone.

With a gunshot bang, the rocking chair’s runners snap flat against the porch while its half-oval back launches spear-like through the window glass. The longbow becomes straight as a rod and its string plays a single high piano note as it bursts into strands. Every coat hanger in the house releases shirt or trousers, and mattress springs quiver through the sheets of what has now become a bed of nails.

A witness, and there are none, may have perceived a boundless expansion of the horizon: the world’s border no longer marked by its own curve, but now diminished only by the eye’s limits. Coincidental with the temporary unbending of all things that ever yielded, the Earth is flat.

(More of the same here.)


  1. Rick Neece on June 22nd, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Sweet Jesus.

  2. Sheila Ryan on June 22nd, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Thank you, MGS. This is splendid.

  3. Sheila Ryan on June 22nd, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I want to witness the flattening of the Earth, if only for an instant.