Kevin Sampsell

So I have this stick now.

His name is Sean.

He has five thin branches and is taller than me.

He fell from a tree somehow.

It's hard to tell where he came from.

When I found Sean he had two leaves.

The wind blew one of them off and it flew away.

It looked like a green butterfly.

I watched it and smiled.

The other one fell off when I wasn't looking and I cried.

Sean was naked now and I wept.

I cannot let go of Sean.

He's like an anchor to the earth.

He is earthy and smells like dirty wood.

I use him as a back scratcher and a friend.

So I have a friend named Sean now.

There is no one in the world like him.

We sit in the grass and watch leaves fall from a tree in the sky.

Everything feels all right again.

Sean tells me about his life.

He's older than I thought.

The same old age as me actually.

We have grown up together like twins.

He looks just like me if I squint.

I check my body for leaves.

My leaves have also fallen off.

They turned into fluttering butterflies so long ago.

Sean says the air has a lot of colors.

He misses the rain he says.

He gets thirsty when I get thirsty.

We are best friends.

It is obvious to others that we are related.

When I say others I mean people and trees.

So I have this family now.

I can see it when I look at Sean.

I can feel it when I walk on dirt.

I've chosen to forget about life before Sean.

There was no Sean before this Sean.

So I'm changing my name to Sean now.

I want to smell just like him every day.

We play a game called hide somewhere but he always finds me.

I always find him too.

It is easy because we are always looking for each other.

One thing that is different between us is my right leg.

My right leg is always falling asleep.

Sean can tell when it's asleep and tells it to wake up.

So I got a tattoo on my sleepy leg that says Wake Up.

It makes Sean happy when he pokes my leg.

Sometimes I find other sticks and let Sean play with them.

He loves everyone.

He loves animals.

He loves the way rain smells.

Sometimes he feels soft like he's been crying.

I finally ask him how long we will live.

Sean wipes the dirt from my face.

I finally ask him how long we have left to live.

Sean tucks me into his shade.

I finally ask him if he understands the concept of time.

Sean says he only understands night and day.

He tells me to break him in half.

I tell him I don't want to.

He says do it and see.

So I have these two sticks now.

My name is Sean.







This story was inspired by a friend's child who found a stick while on vacation and, yes, named it Sean. But the rest of the story is mine! I liked approaching it in a direct and simple way, almost like a weird children's story. Short sentences stacked to kind of look like a poem, but to form a story with a beginning, middle, and end. One of my favorite short stories, "Boy and Dog" by Larry Brown, is written in a similar manner, but even more stringent: Every line of Brown's story is exactly five short, no-frills words. Even though Sean is merely a stick, I hope you like him.