Town of Dust – Audra Burwell

Vague images sway through my skull,
Sloshing under the dented cranial dome,
Like a liquid motherboard, uprooting strands
Of a dream, I thought had been long forgotten.

As the motion-picture reel plays, I step inside
Myself, not far enough to become lost in the
World of cracked screens and wavering signals,
But close enough to taste the bitterness of memory.

A ghost town veiled in clouds of dust and antiquity
Emerges, ramshackle buildings roofed in wooden
Shingles, brass hitching posts lining cobbled streets,
White linen fluttering from splintered fence posts.

Solitude settles over the abandoned village,
Temperature rising, the desert wind growing hotter
And more abrasive as it pelts my sweat-soaked
Neck with grains of stinging sand and heated mire.

Tumbleweeds roll across my path, bristling with their
Own sense of revulsion as I enter a boarded-up saloon,
My leather boots whispering as they scuff the whisky-
Stained floor, my thighs clad in faded black denim.

I look down at a body that no longer exists, a vessel
Of youth and innocence, thirteen years old again, a
Shock that warps reality, forcing me to question
Whether this omen links to the past or the future.

The air wavers, rippling like a decanter of water
Disturbed by exterior forces, the edges of the room
Blurring and receding as the scene shifts, radio static
Blaring in my ears, my only tether to the present.

Another layer of the dream unfurls, dragging my body
With it, folding and crunching my bones so they will fit,
Before propelling me through the glass dome of the
TV, and depositing me in front of my rewritten future.

Audra Burwell is a creative writing major with a strong emphasis on fantasy-themed poetry and fiction that covers universal subject matter. Her work has been published by Palaver Journal, Deep Overstock, Carcinogenic Poetry, Serpentine Zine Literary Magazine, and Superpresent Magazine, as well as appearing on the DO Fiction Podcast. She studies at California State University Fresno where she is aiming for a Master of Fine Arts degree. She is currently employed by Fresno State’s Kremen Department as a Communications Assistant.

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