The Salt Palace


Excerpt from Chapter One       

            On days like this the sky stiffens, as if to say that summer will never come.  Those sweet April showers, each one riding the tail of the one before, migrating through Kalamazoo without a warm week, chase the longest winter since I’ve been here.  And now it rains, and rains, shining the cold, black tarmac where the cars have not yet come in.  Just beyond the parking lot there is a delicate mist hanging on the grasses and between the pines, bending the sleepy Dutch tulips and daffodils who didn’t know it wasn’t time to wake up yet, and I wonder why I can no longer sleep.

            And so, in the First of America parking lot, the sun comes up and I sit in my old broken-down Bronco watching the short, short skies over the black glass and brown brick of Corporate Woods.  All that raw land behind rolls in one believable bulge, twenty hours by car, back to the Wasatch Mountains.  All that road, all those people still in their dreaming.  The morning sun won’t be out there yet.  Only hours earlier it tucked the shores of Great Salt Lake in, pulling the shadow-blanket across the valley as it hesitates before fading off behind the blue mountains of Nevada.  I’ve watched that sun go down so many times, even in the gray mist of a sleepless Michigan morning it plays clear in my head. I think of Jaimy Sizemore, I even think of Joseph Smith and what I never found there or here and why.  I think of Jaimy Sizemore.

            My father’s words come to me now: “If you have faith,” he always says, “your past will save you.”  Maybe it’s his voice calling me back.  Maybe it is His voice calling me for the first time in my life.

            I don’t want to think it’s the green numbers on the dash clock that pull me out of my nostalgia and into the rain, but the pit-a-pat song on the radio has ended. A song from ten years ago (ten years!) that stretches something inside me back to the dry mountains, fading away as I cross the parking lot trying to outpace one of the Snack-Machines (Kitty’s term of endearment, but like loads of everything else, something I’ve taken to using in spite of the fact it’s not mine) to the revolving door, and I let her beat me to it.  At times I think it’s a meat grinder we all arrive at  to meet the same fate: it chews our rolls and lumps and crushes our bones and joints, into sausage then stuffs that undigested flesh into plastic bank tubes.  I’ve come to hate my life this much.



Darren DeFrain


New Issues Press

Date Copyrighted


Item sets