Six and a Half Years Old in Blackjack, Texas

Waylon Cunningham

i used to hate it when the sun set.
deep pine trees and rolling breeze through hills of my old country that so seize my thoughts when late at night i hope for home and gramophones that Gurney – my grandmother – used to play when i was a small and restless child that wouldn’t sleep when the sun would set and cicadas let loose ten thousand buzzing songs.
laid my open-eye head next to her old body and tried to drift away to big black skies but i keep thinking about the tired cows and bulls who want to sleep but cant because those long horns hang heavy off their heads and stick into their friends and Gurneys who want to sleep beside them.
i turn and tustle under the blanket but i cannot fade into sleepy dreamlit realms, those big black skies. Gurney turns up the TV when she wants to hear the evening news. i wish i could turn down my inner TV anchor, thoughts broadcast and echo inside my little head too loud.
i reach over Gurney and get the great big book of Calvin & Hobbes off the nightstand. so to rehearse the funny lines that i cannot read but have memorized, following a finger finely dragging along light clouds of speech. monotony of reading ritual starts to make me fade.
closed my little eyes.
drift away to big black skies.
it is beautiful inside my little head all over and forever and at last i see the cosmic plan that spans galaxies, for finally the king. (a man whom i have previously only seen obscured in glimpses between clouds) he has come down from the mountain and spun circles around the tragedy – his crown one million and one radiant rays dialing outward and robes even bigger than the ones my fat aunt wears at night.
he is bigger than the texas governor (who once visited blackjack)
and he is bigger than steve irwin
and he is bigger than my dad
and he is bigger than god.
he is terrifying and very cool.
his robes bend over with his back as he sunders to my level and whispers in my little ear,
“I’m at the bottom of the ocean and there are fangly fish here and one day you will too. Just wait and wait and wait and see you see me here”
open my little closed eye head to bright huge sun through window break and open my little ear to big bulls mooing and old gurney humming those indistinct but pleasant gramaphone tunes and i am home again