The summer of 2017, I visited a 1900’s ghost town; a Dust Bowl remnant where the sky hangs heavy and dirt clouds its residents’ eyes. A town haunted by a silence that spoke.
The rumble of old engines passed here and there, a clock tower rang on the hour, a lawnmower started— sleepy, domestic. It had been a long time since this town had put its grandeur to rest. I heard a meow behind me.
A family of strays stood near a puddle contaminated with oil. I shooed the cats when they tried to drink from it, and followed them into a small side street where they jumped through a window. I approached the abandoned motor shop as the crunch of broken glass and gravel replaced my footsteps. I looked down and saw a feather trapped beneath the shards. The feather could’ve been from something mundane; a bird molting, a cat hunting for its kittens. Shifting through the glass I lifted the feather from underneath the shards. Through it, I saw the town’s residents grounded, their heads down and feathers tangled with dirt and grass; wings rotting from disuse. I wondered if they fear falling. I wondered if they will never taste the sky.
I wondered if there was any certain degree of fear in these people with wings. Breaking out of a ghost town is easy but fear is what leaves them trapped behind glass.
Ghost towns and museums both collect dust. In this instance, I felt it’s people had misery on display.
The summer of 2017, I visited a town full of hungry hearts and aching souls.
The summer of 2017, I visited a 1900’s ghost town and was reminded small towns remain flightless.