The first time I died, Ima tells me, the sun flared its great, fiery disc and swallowed the whole world in a moment. And everything that had been was then no more. The second time I died, it was at the hands of a grand, dark army, their bayonets through my stomach and heart. And when I fell their boots marched over my corpse as though a body that falls was never standing to begin with.
It is a warm and humid night in summer. The sound of dogs barking on the street. The sound of crickets from the brush and cicadas in trees. Fireflies flash like tiny cameras through the grass along rows of dark cars parked along the curb.
Gogo was raised by her uncle, whose name was George Sale, after her mother died and her father left for Africa. Her father never returned from Africa, and whether he was alive or dead she never cared to find out.
The day breaks sweaty like the last. Like every day in summer. And especially so in the city where there are no trees to provide shade – only countless blocks of cement baking like the desert, or like the desserts baking in oven pans from the church basement after service. All we can do is hope for rain.
My memories are made of brick and cement and glass. My dreams are bathed in the waning sunlight of an autumn day. Long shadows creep over fences and pull at the sidewalk as the sun begins to set. My dreams are apples picked from trees and flat piano notes from songs I never learned how to play.