Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 15
Summer, 2014

Featured painting, Riding the Dragon by Leslie Ditto.

Featured Novel Excerpt
New Works

Marc Atkinson

Five Fears

1. "Where does trust live?" asked Trouble. Infinite Wilderness sighed, "Is trust a possession or thing, or is it the balance of knowing and fear?" Trouble and Infinite Wilderness drank passion from the low hanging clouds. This was a gift that happened when time slowed. "Infinite Wilderness, I trust you." The branch he balanced on arched and swayed. "Trouble, I like when we climb trees." Swearing is different at this age; it suggests something more permanent than crossing your heart and hoping to die. "All these mocking birds sleeping near us reminds me of the joy of being less cynical." Whispered Trouble. "You're weird!" mentioned Infinite Wilderness. And the sun swung from one side of the sky to the other. Trouble carved the word fear into the top of the tree and perhaps thought, the longer I know you Infinite Wilderness the taller the fear grows. The weakness of wisdom is forgetfulness. "All the rings in the tree trunk are little memories of the rain's dreams." Trouble rambled "Do you remember hiding from the rain? If you cut me in two, I think you would see that moment in my rings." With that he leaned back and let go the tree, "Find me."

2. The ground, a little sleep, and an imprint on the forest floor. "Infinite Wilderness" Trouble called. "Gravity has played the part of providence and now my knees are grass stained." Silence swallowed each syllable without the courtesy of recognition. In times like these newness is overshadowed by loneliness. Empty stood the tree, empty stood the forest, "Infinite Wilderness?" Empty stood the warmness of heart. The hymnal of night was searched for an opening song. Every adventure begins empty handed and Trouble understood. Feet followed sentiment, as trust is trust regardless of the folly. "I know your fragrance, I know how your elbows rest on a table, I trust you are looking for me too." Said Trouble. The pieces of Trouble that had made sense were now foreign bodies jumbled into a series of wistful movements. "I have let go, and now who am I?"

3. On his chest he wore the words Infinite Wilderness. It was written in red thread and moved with his breath. He swore he didn't write them, that it was a birthmark. But it's said, signs and miracles are the sorcery of desperate people. "I would like to explain myself." Trouble looked to Infinite Wilderness, her eyes reaching both ways into forever. "No, Trouble, there is little to talk about." There is a way hands fit together or hold a person, sacred and mystical. His hand fit her perfectly. "We shouldn't touch this way." And the stars still shined and the rain still fell and the words never faded from his chest but instead grew brighter. He was never a talented sorcerer. "Your words are sweet." Trouble reminded. "Sometimes, I want to call you Impossible Wilderness." "It's ok, I sometimes call you Trouble." They laughed and time was slow again. "I know what you do with your body." There was a hurt in the air that lingered cool but not cold. "I can find you anytime." "Ha, you know me."

4. There came an ocean. "Are you on the other side?" Trouble asked. "We have been silly too long." Infinite Wilderness wrote. "Growing is letting loose of the tree, maturity is never climbing it again." The waves heaved on the beach, one after the other attempting to conquer the dry ground of the earth. But conquering is not an action as much as an idea. "I am about to swim an ocean." The water was warm and Trouble's body pumped with the ridiculous word that shouldn't be said. The swim was long and lonely below disjointed clouds. A single man in the middle of an ocean is a ridiculous thing, not visible from anywhere, a speck mostly submerged and wet. Out of his element Trouble looked feeble. He hadn't touched the bottom for days and the salt from his sweat mixed with the salt from the water creating white scales on the exposed parts of his torso and neck. In trying the impossible Trouble finds hope, the foolishness Nietzsche warned against. "Stop, and release me." Infinite Wilderness said. "It isn't reasonable to swim after me." Trouble ached, released his swim and floated. When you are mournful floating feels like perpetual drowning, when you are joyous floating feels like weightlessness. The water carried him.

5. Infinite Wilderness and Trouble stood at the base of a tall tree, perhaps taller than fear, something more profound. Trouble always wanted there to be an and.

Marc Atkinson attends a small public university and works for a regional hospital. It appears he is a late bloomer who spent most of his formative years playing in bands and traveling the country in sinful smelling touring vans. While still the occasional musician, romantic companionship has mostly domesticated his wanderlust.