The men here used to grow on trees. Gentleman tree-dwellers in tweed suits and newsboy caps, perched upon the bone-white arms of giant sycamores, supping on squirrels and birds, wheedling catfish from the river when the water ran high. These were not unlearned men and could be heard reciting Milton from the highest limbs, performing Hamlet beneath a Hunter’s Moon. Occasionally, a townswoman would judder the branches, shake a tree man loose. But once they were felled, the men never stayed in place again. Without roots, they wagon-wheeled across the countryside like tumbling leaves, like seeds scattered in the wind.
Audra Kerr Brown lives at the end of a dirt road in Iowa. Her fiction has appeared in the Best Small Fictions, Wigleaf’s Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions list, X-R-A-Y, People Holding, Outlook Springs, and more. She is a reader at New Flash Fiction Review.