We live in the forest because the trees are gone. All of our shade comes from elsewhere, and it cannot stay. We build our houses out of stumps, on stumps. We build roofs and chairs and beds. When there were trees, we could not bear to live here, but now that they have gone, we build and build. There are few of us. From a distance, you would not see a thing.

Our forest ends in grass to the north. To the south, it ends in gravel. To the west, past the wasteland, the city is a gray-brown band. We turn toward it. Hello? Hello? we say into the wind. Reception is spotty. Our hair blows into our mouths.

Yesterday, the grass drifted into our forest. Little by little, before we half noticed, it grew ankle deep. It is light green now, almost blond, every blade identical. We sneak kisses. In the evening, we uproot some and set it on our plates.

Our father says, Amen. He says, This is how kings have eaten. We say, No. Our teeth scrape the seeds. He says, Check your Bible. He smiles. We chew. We don’t have a Bible. Our father keeps his for himself.

We give birth in our stump houses. Because we give birth all at the same time, each of us hears only one woman’s noise. We rest. Our milk smells of grass. Our babies smell of grass and blood and infection. We take our babies outside in the wind to dry them and then again into the rain for bathing. Each of us holds her own baby. It’s how we know which one to bring inside.

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