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August 31, 2020


Rhea Ramakrishnan

after Richard Brautigan

Once a man and a woman and a baby were traveling and pulled over at a lake. The woman put the baby in the grass and she and the man took off their clothes and walked into the lake. They swam and talked and had to keep going under so the flies wouldn’t build homes on their noses. They made love. The way land masses in water seem to come together and apart. Though they call lakes and rivers and ponds bodies too. Perhaps the man was a tributary, his semen in the water its own land mass, the woman and the man together a confluence. Not any more family than you and I. Man, woman, baby; silos. Then, the man floated for a while and the sun made iridescent rings on the surface of the lake. He remembered a fresh water spring just north of here that he’d been brought to as a child. He got out of the water. The baby was not in the grass where they’d put her and when he looked back to the lake, he did not see the woman. Dusk approached. In the chromatic light of late afternoon, the silver bodies of hundreds of dead fish rose to the surface of the lake. The smell of it—