Ali Rachel Pearl



We were raised drinking the same water, breathing the same air, hiking the same streams. We were born in safety, next to sidewalks that would never get dirty. I used to sit and stare at them till they'd crack. But they only cracked for tree roots and shifting earth. And I was neither. And I resented everything I couldn't break with my own two hands or my own vicious heart. We were raised to hate the place where we were raised, not because it wasn't perfect, but because it was. We were raised with the same myths and legends, the same history books, the same teachers. We were taught, all of us, that we were born on this land and therefore a part of it. That those people who came before, not our parents, not our grandparents, but our ancestors, the natives, the tribes for which our local schools and streets were named, were our history and our blood.




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I tried to write a story about a sea cucumber and somehow it turned into the beginning of a story about a valley that used to be an ocean which then became a story about a sister who ran away and a sister who stayed. The sister who ran away writes lists of possible deaths on the back of lawn mowing service fliers to prevent those deaths from happening. Jim Andrews wrote some wicked cool code that I borrowed to help me hide the voice of the disappeared under the voice of the ever searching.