Walking Down the Night
by James Brush

Savage calculations based on the positions of a thousand stars determined the shape of his prayers. Warped triangles, sometimes square-bottomed pyramids with eighteen sides. Once a dodecahedron, but that was when he was drunk and homesick and working through some things. On a roadside one night, he stopped where a vulture’s dark remains were pressed into those of a squirrel killed a few hours earlier. The edges of feathers that escaped wheels fluttered in the small hurricanes of passing trucks. This squirrel-vulture creature, its greasy form pressed into an asphalt shadow and branded by the ridges of a dozen tires, was something new. There was no shape for this awful smash-boned prayer he knew he must say. Dazed and lost, he placed his hands on the cooling pavement. He released all his body’s weight. He said his mass and counted it down to zero. He followed the escaping heat out of the atmosphere, rode the highway’s shimmering prayer and carried them home.

James Brush lives in Austin, TX where he teaches high school English. He is the author of Birds Nobody Loves, and A Place Without a Postcard. You can find him online at Coyote Mercury where he keeps a full list of publications.


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