Serialized Short Story, Part 1: “Loose leaves fell together and scattered apart.”

Autumn fell into winter alongside the leaves, each shaken from their limbs, of time and trees, by a seasonable urgency few in these parts could recall. Winds that had upturned collars and hiked skirts outside shops soon broke branches in the park as a bully might twiggy arms. A pop overhead, and you had time to run for cover; a crack, but a moment to curse. Earth and leaf chased each other in circles, until they mounded in exhausted heaps along walls and fences. Office windows shut fast rattled erratically in their frames, sounding unscored compositions unfit for dance. But the city, from top to toe, it swayed; and the homes, they moaned and creaked, like a honeymoon suite.

The wind had the effect of making a jumble of things. Sixes toppled into nines, nines resigned to sixes, zeroes always the same. Addresses were renumbered or reduced to Cyrillic-seeming gibberish. What to do when numbers fail us? When jotted notes don’t match the present, scribbled memorials become inscrutable memories? Because we write these things down for a reason, and this reason is thought to survive the breath of thought more readily than it does the gusts of a gale. The page, though, turns out to be of sturdier stuff than we often imagine. It endures even when its sense is that of scattered letters, such as those blown from a desk to the floor: correspondence wind-swept and signed into the address of characters.

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