Becca B. Jenkins
Her science teacher called them geodes, but she knew them as thunder eggs. To be precise, all thunder eggs are not geodes, and not all geodes are thunder eggs. But sometimes one and the other are the same.
This is the anemometer, her science teacher said. Do you know what it measures?
It measures the wind. The wind at her back. The speed of her feet. The space between where her toe last was and where her heel touches again. The space between the last letter she wrote and the next one she begins. The space that widens when she stretches her metatarsals, that shrinks when she crinkles herself, her entire self, into a ball.
This is what the anemometer measures.
No, her teacher said. It measures the wind.
He is wrong.
He has science. She has life.
Her mother taught her the four directions, the four mountains, the four colors, the four elements, the four seasons, the four everything. The four phases of life. But she didn’t have four everything. She didn’t have two grandmothers and two grandfathers. She didn’t have two parents and a sibling. She didn’t have her own four limbs.
I’ll hold the pen for you, her classmate said.
Don’t be silly, she replied. See how it fits in the space between my toes?
Sometimes you find jasper in the geode, her teacher said. Not at the center, but in the area around it. It is often red, from the presence of iron. It is almost never blue.
She is red. She is iron. She is always blue.
Last night she dreamed of the raven. She was jealous of his two wings.
You have legs like the bear, the raven said.
But I don’t have four, she replied, only two.
In the morning, her mother poured her coffee. The flavor astringent and dead.
She drank it down and told her mother she didn’t want to go to school.
You have to learn their stories, her mother replied. You must learn their maps.
But I don’t want to go where they want me to go, she said.
Her mother shook her head. At your center is a silk road, her mother said. A route from one world to the next. A path from sea to sky.
But I can’t carry anything back, she told her mother. Only what fits in one palm.
She stretched her single set of metacarpals as evidence.
You have the wind, her mother said.
This is the anemometer, her teacher said. Do you know what it measures?
Becca Borawski Jenkins is a writer and editor. She holds an MFA in Cinema-Television Production from USC and has short stories appearing or forthcoming in The Forge, The Knicknackery, Panorama, Five 2 One, and Corium. She lives with her husband in an RV they built by hand, on an off-grid homestead somewhere in the Idaho Panhandle. Email: beccabjenkins[at]gmail.com