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Make Way for Downpours

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

Leslie Cairns

Our last days were not trombones sputtering towards sunset notes, nor picnics curated by the two of us: recipe by recipe, ribbon by ribbon. Instead, cavernous, downward facing.

The warmth between us akin to boulders nestled into cobblestones, turned into pebbles,silt, and debris. Erosion gets at the underbelly of everything. Oceanic spray mixed in with the deadly heat, to turn us into grieving monsters: sweat under our brows, legs sinewy and muscle starting to blossom underneath from exertion, near our feet.

You were stone-faced, always. That’s why I trek to the place where people mark their way with stones, formations that create ways for hikers not to fall off

into the


Are we done here? You’d asked. So many questions, so many silt marks, so many erasures near the erosion of the almost moments, the space between dewy and thunderstorms, the place that marks the course of where we’d gone together, mark by mark.

Of course, I said. I put my hands on her shoulders. Of course.

There is love that slowly changes, the beats where the boulders whittle

down into what we wanted them to be: pebbles to skip, silt that feels

like face masks after hiking upwards and

back down again.

All while the mermaids and the cloud covers make way for downpours. There is the way that igneous becomes putty when met with someone like you. & the way that metamorphic came from molten, and yet when it finds its way to you, I’ve moved

states away.

& you hold it, as it starts cooling down, in the space between

your fingertips, in the haphazard way it lands.

When the salt atrophies into wet, and I wipe my bottled-up emotions, it feels the way beating back against the current must feel. The way that in a landslide it won’t matter

The size of the rocks, or their destination, their resting place, their favorite time of day.

Just that they’re changing course, and now the rocks are the ones needing to be saved. Found in swirling currents, down mountains filled with snow-capped currency of winter.

The way that no amount of flint can save us from the churning water, the way the downpour will – at some point – wash away your name.

Leslie Cairns holds an MA degree in English Rhetoric. She is a Pushcart Prize Nomination for 2022 in the Short Story category ('Owl, Lunar, Twig'). She was an honorable mention in Flash 405's call in Exposition Review (2022). Leslie has upcoming flash, short stories, and poetry in various magazines. Twitter: starbucksgirly

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