VISION (Cemetery Game)
By Sarah Rose Etter
My father guides the truck over the land through the town to the big cemetery. Here, the strangers are buried. The sun is fat and hot in the blue sky.
“You ready to play our favorite game?” my father asks.
“Yes! Let’s play it!”
He stops the truck and we climb out. The steel black gate lets out a low moan when he unlatches it. We step into the cemetery, long green grass sprouting up between the headstones which jab up out of the ground like strange granite teeth.
“And… GO!” my father shouts.
I work my way through the cemetery, weaving through the graves. I get lost in the names, the small tombstones.
My father is always faster than I am. He starts shouting his numbers. “1913! 1908! 1898!”
I shout mine back once I catch up, heart pounding. “1916! 1884! 1911!”
“1879!” my father yells, and he is the winner.
We climb back into the car. He puts a very sad song on the stereo and hums along as he drives us to the ice cream store, the second part of our ritual.
“I’ll still buy you one,” my father says.
We both buy vanilla. We don’t speak on the drive home, just listen to the very sad song again and again as he navigates us home.
An Excerpt From The Book of X, available now from Two Dollar Radio
Sarah Rose Etter is the author of Tongue Party, and The Book of X, her first novel, which is available from Two Dollar Radio. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cut, Electric Literature, Guernica, VICE, New York Tyrant, Juked, Night Block, The Black Warrior Review, Salt Hill Journal, The Collagist, and more. She is the co-founder of the TireFire Reading Series, and a contributing editor at The Fanzine. She has also served as an arts columnist at Philadelphia Weekly.