After Topeka was washed in the flood, the waters retreated and the people came back to their pews. The muck still stained the runner that led up the aisle, straight as the Way. The preacher read new license in their exhaustion, their shame of need. So he let fly the old tongue, the tent circuit cadence. His fold hawed and geed in their mud sopped shoes. From their rank oscillated a whoam, as of cicadas. The preacher raised up his hand and they shushed. The birds held their song. Even the wailing sirens were soothed. All the world fell silent for the slip of an instant. He began to speak in the old way, saying unto them: In the shape of her flank and hock He made this sward for you, in which to feel the ceaseless south wind on your face. I pity you who have planted this place in oak and maple, who have screened your homes from the wisp of cottonwood seed. You who have sent your sons to the cities east and your daughters to the agglomerations of the west. You who would remove to the cities of no Fall. You have turned away your face and so forgotten. Now when Death comes for you, you hide from it--like a child from fire--in the place it consumes most surely. Let this brown water fill the broad cleavages of valley, that you might step again into the wold and feel His voice that carries the seed. The face He hath shown you like a woman lain stretched out will not be turned from again. With this the preacher let fall his hand and the quiet yawned. From somewhere in the pall, a sleepy, unopposed fart trumpeted. There were gasps. Coughs. Chuckles. They began to file out, trading nudges and shrugs. Later they swore they'd heard nothing. Save the wind.

About the author:

Craig Davis is from Topeka, Kansas. His recent fiction can be found in elimae, Thieves Jargon, and Dzanc Books Best of the Web 2008. He lives in Kansas City. More information can be found at