In Preparation For The Long Emergency |
by Dustin Orin Talley

Flint flakes fall on leaves
It's Fall, well, the beginning of it. 
The leaves are dead and that's good. 
I'm at a camp site with my son. 
The sun is beating down on us
because I reserved site B13 instead of B14.
A mistake. 
We just found out that he will soon have a sibling
and I'm not sure why we're here. 
My wife is working. 
He, my son, has finally taken my advice 
and instead of having words with leaves
he whittles flint with steel patiently. 
He's working and I try not to think about work. 
I instead study his labor. 
This is preparation for The Long Emergency. 
Soon, and for reason's that I do not know,
there will be shortages of food. 
Diapers will need to be changed. 
The electricity grid may go down. 
Who knows? 
My son, I am teaching him to live with all of these things. 
I showed him how to hook up the solar panels to the batteries
how to feed the chickens and change their bedding,
how to turn the compost pile. 
Right now he is intent on the pile of metallic combustible goodness on the leaves. 
Later on tonight we will go fishing and I will catch one tiny catfish. 
My son will insist we eat it, though I will protest
claiming that one small fish is not enough to make a mess
And besides a pocket knife is all I have with me. 
He will win and we will be brutal to the fish not on purpose
but because we are not prepared with the knowledge for a clean kill. 
We will kill, however,
and we will get meat and we will cook that meat over the coals
that are the remnants of the fire
that my son is flaming into life right now
as the flickers follow the flow of the blade 
traced into the eternal flame of wow. 
So proud!
Stand up son, take a bow
and as the fire brightens his face
I try not to look beyond at threatening clouds. 

The Poet: Dustin Orin Talley lives with his family in Durham, NC. 

The Artist: Faun Scurlock is a digital artist/photographer born and raised in Vancouver, WA. The constant weather changes of the Pacific Northwest bring her plenty of opportunity to capture landscapes, action shots, and abstract photographs. Faun's been published in multiple journals - The Phoenix and Salmon Creek Journal - and included in a student art show at Clark College.