Cedar-Magnolia-PorterThe men had outraged them, so they rose up against them and cast them out, beyond the city walls, beyonds the fields, into the forests and the wild spaces and the mountains. Some went with them, who can say, what does it matter.

In their wake life went on much as before. Bread was baked, books were sold, cigarettes were smoked over small dark cups of potent coffee. Your hands might shake, your joints might ache: coffee like that.

Cedar comes to their city in a quiet October chasing a long dry summer. The fields beneath the city walls are dry as gold, yearning for some careless spark: she dares not smoke.

Children, children they worked out amongst themselves. It wasn’t as difficult as they’d thought. Life went on. She learns this in some crowded basement bar, squeezed between two cheerful drunks, a radio blaring politics.

It’s been a bad year for her, all roads and no rest, her stories stale, her breath bad. She drinks, laughs into her collar, pleased to listen, to take it all in. The beer is good, the room is loud and dark, she has nowhere to be. Outside they rush through the city streets, clash bronze axes on bronze shields, a time of politics and prairie fires.