The heat squeezes the house like the band man would his wheezy box.
Inside it, the husband and freckled boys shelter in the kind of scorched-dead slumber
that hems up the remnants of a day spent in the fields. It is an unexpected mercy,
this sleep, and it gives them the legs to go again before dawn cracks across
the backs of the limestone hills; it gives them an oasis to aim for when the afternoon
stretches long, close as they are here to the unblinking eye of the gods. A tree
or two wouldn’t be too much to ask, the woman thinks from the porch where a sea
used to live, as she rocks away midnight and the next hour and the next. She never looks
up: she has no need. She hums as she works by touch in the ocean of dark, stitching stars
firmly to flannel squares. They will be glad of an extra quilt come winter.
— Amy Nixon