Signed, February

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Light Boxes

Read more about my Light Box month.

from Light Boxes, by Shane Jones

The priests walked down the

hill and into town where they stopped at the town school and the town library. They confiscated textbooks, tore out pages about birds, flying machines, Zeppelins, witches on brooms, balloons, kites, winged mythical creatures. They crumpled up paper airplanes the children had folded, and they dumped the pages into a burning pit in the woods.

The priests sank their rusty spiked shovels into the mound of dirt and refilled the hole. Some of the priests felt tears roll down their cheeks but didn’t feel sadness. Others forced their minds to unravel the memory of wind. They nailed a second scroll of parchment to a second oak tree. It stated that all things possessing the ability to fly had been destroyed. Is said that no one living in the town should speak of flight ever again.

It was signed, February.

Thaddeus

I kept a kite hidden in my workshop where the priests couldn’t find it. I unfolded the kite from its dusty box and told Bianca she could fly it for a few minutes. I tried to see if the priests were in the woods but only saw owls sidestepping through the snow.

I said to try again after the kite failed to take off. A hand pushed the kite to the ground. She tried a few more times, and the kite slammed downward. I saw a cloud shaped like a hand. I thought of Bianca and her happiness like bricks in mud.

It’s February, said Bianca.

I said, I’m sorry this didn’t work out. We can try again.

What’s the point, she said. It’s the end of flight. It’s February.

The point, I said, is to keep trying for the sake of trying.