Multiplicity Commons No. 2

Crying for Water City

by Amy Stonestrom

Crying for Water City by Amy Stonestrom

A strong gust of wind rattles the windows and shakes the house with such force that I wonder if I need to gather my chicks and hurry to the basement.

Then nothing. All is calm.

Minutes later I jolt in my chair at the sound of firecrackers pop, pop, popping in our front yard. Firecrackers? It’s only late May. From the next room I hear my son’s deep, calm voice.

“The tree fell.”

“The tree?” I’m envisioning the small flowering crab with the skinny trunk. Fine, I think.

“Mom, the tree fell,” my son says again, and now we’re both rushing to the front door. There it is, lying almost at our feet. Our enormous red maple, Acer rubrum, split in two. One half stands upright, the other half covers the yard. The top of the canopy lies just short of our living room window.

Last fall, the blaze of the collective foliage was so beautiful it caused an ache just behind my rib cage. I feel the same ache now, knowing I will never again witness this display.

Split in half.

Just like each one of us right now.

Drew says what I am thinking: “It’s because of the protests and riots.”

Red has survived countless blizzards, spring storms, and straight-line winds but it would not stand while Minneapolis fell.

We now live 20 miles from downtown, separated by one state line and two great rivers. Today, I long for our old neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul. We still call them home, will always call them home. The Twin Cities. Conjoined but not identical.

Each time I close my eyes, I hear Mr. Floyd cry out beneath the unyielding knee. I see the burned-out buildings, the supremacist instigators. I taste the justified anger.

The land of ten thousand lakes, now a waterfall of tears.  

Drew and I walk carefully among the fallen branches. I want to cradle each newly opened bud in my cupped hands. Together we approach the gaping wound in the trunk, previously hidden from view. Giant ants climb through the oozing sickness. Disease and decay found their way to the center while we weren’t looking. Or maybe we choose not to see it. I step closer and gag from the stench. I wonder if we could have stopped this destruction had we treated the wound sooner.

Split in half.

Just like each one of us right now.

About the Writer

Amy Stonestrom’s essays have appeared in Brevity, Superstition Review, Defunkt, Storm Cellar Quarterly, Parhelion and others. Her work has won awards from the National League of American Pen Women and Street Light Magazine’s memoir/essay contest. Currently an MFA candidate in Bay Path University’s creative nonfiction program. You can find her at