“Ewart” – Fiction by Michael Díaz Feito

In the jungle, Florida - Winslow Homer, 1904
In the jungle, Florida – Winslow Homer, 1904

“Ewart” is a spectacularly swampy slab of Southern Gothic by Michael Díaz Feito from our Fall 2015 issue.

{ X }

ān æfter eallum …

Beowulf

IT IS WRITTEN THAT A RIPPLING SPHERE OF MOSQUITOES often rose from that yellow sedge spot where N. Ewart Nance put up his cabin. A unique species, when underfed the wiry girls were themselves a glowing yellow. They purpled when glutted. Shifting in their spherical swarm, they swapped hues, off and on. They shed generations too. Unlike the average others, these mosquitoes led no three-day luxury life but had only the one. Up, then down. Their throng’s heart dropped out dead by each morning. Then the young and yellow leapt from the still sedge-water, rearing up like one open mouth.

Sustain—this ever-adolescent species kept a lumpy shade cast over the sedge. A point of origin, south of the Miami River.

{ X }

Ewart never named his homestead. Although he did consider himself that spot’s first inhabitant, he never christened it. He would not care for those who had, would, or will. That spot of yellow sedge has had many names: one in the Tequestas’ tongue, then Meados del Fraile, Coño de la Coja (briefly), Clarke’s Kill, Ooki-lakni, Panther’s Breath, Okeelacknee, Telegrams, Monmouth, and (after draining and ingesting it) Miami. Before the end of the nineteenth century, South Florida’s place names were transient like human life. This is meant in a literal sense. Names went into graves with namers and kin, swallowed all in perennial union by bog muck and waters. These swamps boil and lack phosphorus, so they do not preserve pristine skin-bags—no moaning faces visible, beatified. In and around sinkholes, you’ll only dig up brushfire ashes and teeth, peat-packed. Teeth irreverently strewn like Onan’s seed. But the water is clean.

That yellow sedge spot was mapped once in 1896 as Monmouth. In a local accent, Moan-mouth. That town was built, burned, rebuilt, burned in roughly the same spot. A prominent hotelkeeper named it for his favorite fruit pudding, and that was meant to evoke the tropics for tourists. Monmouth slouched by Biscayne Bay.

{ X }

Ewart, at age thirty, hides beside his mother on a backless pew in the Cumberlands. A sturdy woman. She grips his shoulder. A chafing of linsey-woolsey and calico—other shoulders settle close by them on the pews. Ewart feels smothered. He hunches his shoulders and tenses his arm, to signal that she grip tighter. She does. All these parishioners sweat from slogging through frost, so they stick together at the shoulders, fixed by foggy breaths and stamped-up ashes.

The church itself is only a gray box. Its ceiling runs low, low enough that most men reach up and rest their hats on the crossbeams. Another pew of broad-brimmed hats. Most men spit chaws on the floorboards. These form one sticky pool.

Ewart does not doff his hat. His head sits huge on a short body, and the hat tightly hugs just its upper slopes. To hide his face—miniscule features meekly clustered at the flat, chalky center—Ewart bends the brim. Somebody flicks the back of the brim. And again. An opening hymn is chanted. His mother chants loudest, nasally, and Ewart says, She whinnies only to outdo the others’ holiness.

This hymn dies down.

Most men spit chaws again.

Somebody flicks Ewart’s nape.

The preacher speaks at the pulpit:

On this most airish day, ladies and gentlemen, we are swept together like strands of twine today. A single thread tied in blessed God’s big hand. We are not separate ones. He has entwined us into a strong rope stained with the Blood. He has knotted us. Now, hear me. We came from somewhere far from Him, that is, sin. And nay, do not turn ye back like Lot’s wife! For there behind ye is surely Satan. The Lord our God tugs our rope safely through fiery flames, us upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. He tugs us over yonder, poor mourners, toward Him, toward Salvation! Knotting us together, tighter and tighter, as we turn unto Him. Verily, I say, He is fitting a single sacred garment of us, Salvation, for to leave our lone bodies behind!

His mother Winifred nods along with the sermon’s words. Her lipless mouth is only grayer cracks in the skin by the teeth.

Ewart tugs his arm from her grip. He does not want to leave his lone body. As he plucks his patchy beard’s bristles, the preacher reads a psalm.

Past the pulpit is one window. A redbud tree presses its panes. Six panes bloodied by the wintery buds like a picture of fire, and branches also gnash the panes.

Watching the preacher, his mother pushes her knuckles into his shoulder. Her wiry fingers wrap his arm again. A small fear simmers Ewart’s loins. He snaps together his knees to hide the hard horn. The preacher’s voice rising, most men weep. Somebody knocks Ewart’s hat and it flies into the pool of spit chaws.

{ X }

Because a soldiering uncle returned from the final Seminole war and told Winifred that South Florida was a godforsaken fen and lonesome, Ewart aimed to go. An unholy place without history. The past did not interest him. He imagined that he could dodge it in Florida. Tramp another trail to another end. He was quiet, so exile seemed best, a withdrawal from a tradition of Christian tremens and charcoal-burners; instead, a nestling like a hermit in hotter woods, which he now yearned for with a whining inside.

Ewart would not wed Mother.

{ X }

Her cabin within rhododendrons and yellow birch was not even. It did not reckon with the mountain’s slope. Instead, its floorboards steeply dove down toward the foothills—and toward the clay-caked charcoal mound that smoldered, gasping out a flue, before the porch. All her furniture was nailed down. The stovepipe was angled so that it smoked the woods and not the sky, sow-scented. Ewart had built her this cabin after a landslide which took their first cabin and his father.

{ X }

In October 1859 he proposed his plan over a supper of milk-wet hominy. Lowering a bowl from his mouth, he licked pap off the bristles under his lip. Then he reached his small hand trembling across the table. The splintery grain scraped its knuckles. His hand waited at the table’s center. To his relief, his mother did not take it.

He said, I am going to Florida. I’d like to be alone, is all. In the quiet. As it is, too many persons in the hollow. Enough for the corn, the camp meetings, and that hollering rowdiness—cockfights and gouging and the like, the sharp thumbs. Too many hogs, too. And it’s blue cold, so I reckon I will go. I might could make a fortune in Florida. This could be your Lord’s plan.

His mother said flatly, I shall die, Nebuchadnezzar. If I lost you to such rambling, who should hold me as I die?

She tipped over the serving bowl. Its wood spoon clapped against the tabletop. Grits oozed into Ewart’s outstretched hand. Then she tipped over his bowl. She tipped over her own bowl. She bound up her hair with pins. Without any more words, she keened for three hours.

{ X }

Because fear twisted his bowels in jabs and a heavy winter advanced, Ewart compromised. He agreed to keep reading Scripture as taught.

She said, That you can read it at all is a gift from my father, a real presbyter among these with no book learning.

Ewart also agreed to bring a family to Florida. He did. He wedded Almeda Riddle, a dewlapped girl ten years senior and fascinated by reptiles, and impregnated her quickly, as best he could (as he could not do it again). Once that act was adequately proved, Mother let him leave.

{ X }

She kneels in prayer on the sloping floorboards. She refuses to see them to their mules. Emoting the pain of the slope’s tug on her praying knees, she says, Our Lord shall not let you go astray if I give unto Him even my weak knees.

Ewart mutters. He thumbs his suspenders. He knows to say something but not what. He does not know that Winifred’s knees are callused beyond feeling. She stinks of smoke. He considers drying the tears on her domed cheeks. Instead, only to slake her, he promises to write home.

She says, I will await your good news, then.

A pigeon flaps and fans over Ewart as he steps off the porch. He regrets his promise.

{ X }

Those suspenders were inherited white ropes from Ulster, borne by his grandfather to fix posterity’s trousers. Ewart misplaced this inheritance on the Wilderness Road, or the National Pike, or the B&O tracks, or Baltimore, or the steerage of a steamer to Key West, or the schooner Todavía No up to Biscayne Bay, on the deck of which he had nothing of home to thumb beside his swelling wife. Along the Keys the water shined white, sun-singed. A stilted lighthouse like a steel skeleton stood in the shoals off Puñetera Reef. The keeper, a shade alone on the high platform, waved. Alone, says Ewart, with one purpose—crank the timer and light lard oil at sunset. He hoped Almeda would wave back.

{ X }

A third cabin, Ewart’s own in Florida: pale pine logs fixed together with locking grooves, forming short walls, sturdy and mud-caulked; a purlin-propped plank roof with long-split shingles; a rusting copper sheet (flotsam) for a porch cover, the cabin’s crown, which heavy rain twanged like a glockenspiel; a pit hearth inside and a stacked-limestone chimney; two glassless windows, close-set and low by the door, which were always shaded by the porch cover, so it seemed that the home held in its frame a flaw, not serious but prenatal; and a floor of just dirt there beneath the porch cover and purlins, beaten by feet and soaked with yellow water in the wet season. Even on flat land, Ewart feared making bad floorboards.

{ X }

Their baby Lyle crawls over the mangroves’ twisted stilt-roots. He reaches for a floating pod, cigar-like and moldy. He falls in. A spasm of splashing, and crabs flee up the roots. Ewart turns to Almeda, whose eyes bulge, her best feature, he says. This family is sometimes cozy like a counterpane. Almeda runs. She clasps Lyle’s legs and lifts. He slips out screaming.

{ X }

Three Seminoles once pushed a dugout canoe past the cabin. Their speckled turbans shined. A smiling girl stood in the canoe. A sallow Confederate soldier once walked in the slash pines, winding inland with a rifle.

In those pines Ewart planted sweet potatoes. Wreckers camped twelve miles up the coast by a post office called Cocoa-nut Grove. They traded with Fort Dallas, and Ewart got sugar and malted corn from them. He had no canoe. It was a two-day trudge to that post office. This pleased him.

{ X }

In 1878 both his wife and son died. Almeda shortly outlasted Lyle, who had journeyed up to the Panhandle and outside Pensacola reached Death Lake, where it’s been written that “sunlight never touched the water except between the hours of 12 and 2 PM.” It was a good spot for fishing.

Swamp gas smothered him. A wrecker back from Fort Barrancas told Ewart about Lyle’s death, and Almeda died of yellow fever that August. Nebby, Nebby, she rasped. She had not used that nickname before. Ewart often recalled her death’s smell, shit and smoked apples. And also that sound of her toenails scratching dirt as he dragged her to the pines. Her body was buried with the sweet potatoes. That first want, his aloneness, was satisfied. Two serious years passed. He did not masturbate. There was some suffering.

{ X }

Indian middens quickly grow sweet potato, but Ewart found none. Nonetheless, he only ate sweet potatoes. He boiled them in marshy brine, which he also distilled into whiskey with a still behind the cabin. That became his only drink. He pictured a trap for birds: smear a gumbo-limbo’s pitch on any tree’s boughs and crotch, so any bird resting there would stick, fluttering frustrated until he clubbed its skull and cut its feet from the bark. He never did it. His skin tawed, his hairs grew like eagles’ feathers, his nails like birds’ claws. Under the cabin’s only table, at which he often sat drafting one letter for Mother, Ewart’s feet wallowed out a wet trough serrated with limestone.

{ X }

Tenochtitlan floated on Lake Texcoco until the Spaniards drained it, but they could not similarly scar South Florida. They just ate their horses and left shipwrecks along the shore’s reefs like its excrement.

Ponce de León was first pierced by a Calusa’s clean arrow. He returned eight years later to be pierced by a Calusa’s poison arrow and killed, stubbornly. Narváez and then de Soto death-marched inland and recorded nothing, while Cabeza de Vaca wrecked and wandered with a fever. Forgot his language for a time. The marshes swallowed the efforts of those short-statured, soon-lisping soldiers. An island of naked trees north of Ewart’s cabin formed a copse of spears. These stunted pines had no branches or needles like the spears that the Aztecs planted for the Spaniards in Lake Texcoco. If some structures survived, brushfires in the sedge were the swamp’s digestif in the dry season, and eventually the earth got down its meal, or it will.

{ X }

In August Ewart sat writing his letter home. A hair-shirt of mosquitoes stuck on him. One, fattened purple, settled on his forefinger. He inched his other forefinger toward it. On the slightest touch, she popped, drizzling blood over his knuckles. Soiled fabric swatches, ink-stained and scratched, were his stationery, stacks on the table from when Almeda was forever sewing and never finishing, swatches cut from sacks of malted corn and sugar.

{ X }

His mother waits, praying. She still kneels on the sloping floorboards. The door is unlatched, swings open, slaps, and dead, her knees give, she tumbles downslope, knocking against the yellow birches. And still she wants his letter. Only that will stop the tumbling and slake.

{ X }

He finished with an honest song set to a Sacred Harp tune, a hymn for her from his troubles, taking time to knot it with rhyme:

 

And I planted some sisal for to make me my wealth

while my son in a swamp did soon lose all his health

and his mother after died and so died our old cow

these mosquitoes soon made it so both did here bow

and that sisal was that falseness no good for the hemp

so this mourner here swigs at his still so unkempt

and I bury my kin’s clothes no longer to be worn

for that life from our plot here has been dearly borne

like a bat quickly in quickly out this cabin soaring

O dear Lord how that short life is quickly and gone

 

It was not an honest song. He could not write shape notes. He never had a cow there, nor a Bible. He had yet to bury any clothes.

He said, She will still hear it well.

It rained. Slats of water hit the cabin. The sedge-water rose. It reached his knees. He rolled empty inkbottles and fruit jars off the table when the rain stopped, and he stood to get more whiskey from the still. The jars slapped into the high water and briefly floated.

The flood had swept up the still’s keg and kettle, which floated seven feet toward that stunted copse, and Ewart splashed through the sedge until kicking against his store of sunken fruit jars. He fell forward. He resurfaced from the sedge with a jar in each hand. Unable to wrap these jars, his small hands gripped stiffly. He pressed one jar to his neck and unscrewed its lid with his chin, contorting, then similarly unscrewed the other, letting the lids drop into the water, and he alternately swigged from each jar. It bit his brains.

The evening darkened. Sparks flashed from that copse, where a campfire was soon lit. Like the Star, said Ewart. He waded toward it. Alone, says Ewart, with one purpose—crank the timer and light lard oil at sunset. He hoped Almeda would wave back.

A troop of men sat together by that campfire. They were lit with its whirling flames. Two shot dice in the dirt, while two young ones watched, giggling, and a fifth one sat across the fire from them all with a shotgun.

The wet night air stunk there like blood meal. The dice-rattle rang harshly against Ewart’s ears. He shivered where he watched. An uproar of laughter soon erupted from the troop, but one of the dice-shooters, a lanky man with a long, lowered neck, did not laugh, because he had lost. He eyed his opponent’s black hands, which swept up and stacked coins, the chittering winnings.

He said, No, that’s not it. That’s not it, you sharp. He then slowly reached for his trousers’ back pocket.

The fifth one cried out and clicked back the shotgun’s cocks. The young ones gasped, then embarrassed, bit their lips, furrowed their brows. Ewart yelped and crawled forward into the firelight with his fruit jars.

{ X }

In his book, Florida for Tourists: Invalids, and Settlers, George M. Barbour of Chicago writes many black people. Opposite Barbour’s assessment of our Florida “darkies,” an inky Sambo illustration drives a mule. On payday, Barbour writes, the railroad’s blacks rush into the pines, tossing dice, drinking rum, tripping over themselves. Through the night, that is a joyful scene. “They would be a terribly dangerous element of society,” Barbour observes, “were it not for their well-known fear of fire-arms, and their naturally peaceful disposition.” Writing further: their propensity for “talking big,” their indolence, their taste for gopher tortoise, Barbour concludes that black people “will not play a permanent or prominent part in Florida.”

In 1964, Barbour’s 1881 book was reprinted by the Florida Quadricentennial Commission in an ornate facsimile. A photograph of then-governor C. Farris Bryant, a segregationist seated with an enigmatic smile, appears among the opening pages. Sambo is gone.

{ X }

Shared, their fruit jars fell, spinning empty around the campfire. Ewart’s sad speech, a wet drawl, slow, nasal spit and some tears. My daddy, he said, I do not know if he, that is my daddy, although I do, if he is there or where although I feel that he is, and she is, is praying still, is still praying, and is still awaiting for me still. I’ve grown so ugly alone.

The sedge outside the pines groaned, its frogs speaking into thick night.

The winning dice-shooter, Chester, then said, Mine’s been gone too, and I can’t touch on that.

He set a hand on Ewart’s shoulder. They wept together.

Stop that, the tears and that, says Charles, the losing dice-shooter. Be mannish, you sharp, or else you’ll grow so ugly also. And you, he says, pointing at Ewart. I just need you to know only what you need to know, which is why we are here. We are only waiting, doney. The railroad is coming, and that I saw myself in a telegram, which I myself delivered to its cunt-bitten backers, starched collars with dry-fuck wives, for the Western Union in Fort Myers. Us, we here, are only waiting, because we will build it, their railroad. We’re anticipating, because of the telegram. A letter spraying like foamy piss in the wind. It reaches even over to Cuba now, that piss-stream of their telegrams. Sunk cables in the sea. And that is what I need you to know. And do not ask for more, doney. Do you carry shooting-irons?

Ewart sighed, but a hiccup stopped this sigh, so he sighed again, and said while sighing, There, then. He said, I’ll send Mother my letter there, but as a telegram, and so I will go there. With wet hands, he rubbed his wet eyes. No need, he said, to write nothing, then, in Fort Myers. He shut his eyes.

Charles watched.

{ X }

The campfire dimmed. The young ones, Walter and Pete, whispered together. Their husky talk, about the prices for egrets’ plumes, stirred the dark humidity. The others were silent. Ewart now slept sitting upright.

Walter slowly pulled a white plume from his shirt pocket. The campfire died. Charles pulled out a straight razor and suddenly lunged at Ewart, screaming and slashing the air in jerks. Floyd, the fifth one, was startled. He fired the shotgun. Buckshot peppered Charles’s chest, pushing him back. Some shot scraped Walter and Pete. Up and already gone. Ewart ran west.

{ X }

The Everglades seem dichotomous on a drive-by glance. It’s on and off, harsh light and harsh shadow, open marsh and canopied hammock, wet season and dry season, feverish fecundity and sere stillness. But if you see intently (and you may not, because the sedge doesn’t invite), then the dichotomies dissolve. Land flows, flooded under fanged sawgrass. Light bends, shadowy in strand swamps.

In possums’ pouches and out, life, a green assault, and death, a brackish stink, blend.

The strangler fig seizes its host, a palm or oak, with caramel tentacles, embracing till the tree dies and the fig’s tendrils root, supplanting the corpse. The climbing fern may collude with death, rush up tall cypresses, setting a knotty wick for brushfires to climb. And the stunted copse of slash pine is lifeless though living, shaping a northwesterly passage into the Everglades. It passes Ewart.

{ X }

The morning glare woke him. His head, weighted in muck, thumped. Gasping, he crawled to a hot puddle and drank. But his belly churned. He dropped, puking on the sedge. As he squirmed, sawgrass cut his neck. What, he said, did I tell?

Fort Myers, he said. That’s where. A grayness hid the sun, gleaming still, so that Ewart squinted blearily. He could not see where it was. He trudged through sawgrass anyway, and the muggy air stuck on him like walking through webs. Alligators grunted, and as he passed their snouts, he said, She lets me pass. He smiled.

Mudflats, sown with mica, glimmered behind Ewart. He slid up to a hammock. It was thick with ferns, pigeon plums, oaks, gumbo-limbos, mahoganies, figs, and cabbage palms. The rot of swamp apples, a sour piss stench, stung Ewart’s nose. His boots crushed some to mush. He shook. He was sick. Ashamed, he said again, What did I tell?

An egret rookery sat low in willows by deep water, which stilled when Ewart did. It clearly reflected the foliage and the white-fuzzed chicks. Snaking their long necks and clicking, the chicks pinched each other with open beaks. Their mothers were gone.

A splash agitated the water, and a fluttering chick floated toward Ewart. Beneath its beak a sharp bone stuck out. Blood seeped from the split, and its belly was pierced. It stopped fluttering. It floated by.

A squawking crow shot up from one of the nests. Other crows settled in the branches.

Ewart said, No, I will stop this. Waving his arms and yelling, he waded to the willows. He grabbed branches and shook hard.

The crows flew away. The chicks fell into the water. They flopped down around him.

Ewart felt sick. Wheezing, he recalled his letter and hoped.

{ X }

Ewart sloshed through yellow water among the cypresses, waded warily around the knees—woody spires, protuberant from the trees’ roots, smoothly knobbed, surrounding as they buttressed—but he could not hold it anymore. His bowels jerked. Unbuttoning the rear flap, he stumbled over, braced his hands against a stump. He sprayed shit on the cypress knees. His asshole hissed.

Then the stump, coarse and cracked, shook against him. It hissed too. In it, shivering, many water moccasins were casting their skins. They limply reared up with open white mouths, too weakened for striking. They looked like wilted orchids.

Wilting himself, Ewart knows what the snakes know, because he wakes nightly to a body standing beside the bed, but then he can’t move to stop it before it steps forward to pinch his ears with smoky fingers. It peels off his ears. Although he squeezes, he can’t even scream, while it only stares, holding up the ears. Almeda would wake him then. Soothing, with bird-bone hands she stroked his hard horn, so her sleep was always short and sweaty in their bed. Sometimes she had also smiled.

{ X }

The altostratus sky dispersed to show the sun past its peak. Ewart squinted in the glare again and slid into another slough. Its waist-deep water was warm like the wet air, so he could not sense where the two separated. The slough was scattered with stands of dwarf cypress and went on, unbound to the west. His punchy heart thumped too rapidly. He could not hear the anhinga’s grunting. His feet plunged suddenly into a small sinkhole. It was a rocky bowl beneath the yellow water. Ewart dived under.

Dwarf cypress, as its name indicates, is smaller, a stunted ascendens. Often, it is older, too, by even a hundred years, surviving brushfires, storms. And the dwarf assumes weird forms. It’s been said that in winter—not really a season here, only a slight rarefaction of mosquitoes—then-leafless dwarf cypresses give a “weird grayish, smoky color to the landscape,” ghostly.

Rising from the water, Ewart saw an island among the dwarf cypresses. On it was one gumbo-limbo tree.

It is an elephantine gumbo-limbo. An exposed root twists, lumped, around its trunk, and its thick limbs flex, akimbo. Awkward but sturdy, it is much like the Guennol Lioness of Mesopotamia. Its muscled trunk peels bark in reddish flakes, only to reveal more bark peeling in reddish flakes. Two men squabbled for a seat on this tree’s root. This surprised Ewart.

He saw more men, shrouded by mosquitoes, crouched close to each dwarf cypress. Some limply held pistols poking up from the water. Others lay prone at the trees’ mucky feet. The squabblers went silent. They feverishly peeled the gumbo-limbo’s flaky bark.

Ewart said, I will not tell nothing now. I will not.

{ X }

These are the names of the men in the slough’s posse: Clarence Wiggle, Cecil MacGregor, Gerald Grozny, Shep Macon, Ivor Ribault, Deputy Thomas Quiney, Walter Batic, Xosé Sangoñiedo, Van Latvala, Lemuel Eppes, Estevanico, Sheriff Lloyd Hefflin, Billy Cypress, Orestes Guillén, Deputy Hiram Earle, Eloy Isalgué, and Hamlin Snell.

{ X }

What’re you doing? said Deputy Thomas Quiney.

I am to send a telegram, said Ewart.

What’s it say?

What?

What’s it say?

It don’t. Yet.

{ X }

Lost, isn’t it? said Walter Batic. He rocked his head against a dwarf cypress bole, spun his pistol in the water. I have almost lost my life, he said, but I can’t say as ever I was lost myself. I have been bewildered now for three days. You’ve got to know your glades. You are not a thing if you don’t know your glades. Our niggers, Charles and Little Pete, they know these glades too good, is our hard truth here.

{ X }

Ewart sank by Sheriff Lloyd Hefflin, who said: I had a dog, red-rusted, and he was old with pus in his eyes. Never did cut his balls off. Saw his wobbly stand once, and I heard him whine, a wheeze and a whine—woah! A loud whine. A bitch spread its brindle self before my dog. He wanted to! He could not!

{ X }

Some of the posse wept as the sky blackened. Others began to chant a Sacred Harp hymn, and recognizing it, Ewart joined them:

 

Go, mothers, and tell it to the world,

Go, mothers, and tell it to the world,

Go, mothers, and tell it to the world,

Poor mourners found a home at last.

 

{ X }

Brushfires spread in December, when the sedge is dry like hay, which is desirable—under smoke’s cover sparks furtively bite stalks, whisking ashes into the rocky soil, so that when the stalks grow back, they grow firmer, nourished by their own ashes—and like the Spaniards’ bundled spears, tossed into smudges to smoke the mosquitoes while the explorers enjoyed their ultimate meal, their horses, the flesh of their civility, so the logs of Ewart’s cabin burned when the fires crawled from that stunted copse, and Almeda’s fabric swatches, unburied and ink-stained, burned readily, as he did not follow his intentions.

{ X }

MICHAEL DÍAZ FEITO is a Cuban American writer from Miami, Florida. His work has been published in Mangrove, The Acentos Review, Jai-Alai Magazine, and theEEEL. He currently dwells in Inwood, Manhattan, with his girlfriend Naomi and their dog Finn.

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