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Chalkfest: after the rains

| Josh Bauer

The children’s scribbles are the first to go. Fanciful animals and cartoon characters lose definition like the Wi-Fi in Davies, borders blurring with each patter from the sky, until it’s all one vast pastel kingdom in slow migration toward the Little Niagara.

 Upstream the Billy Goats Gruff melt slowly toward the waiting troll, mouth opening wide, wider, widest to catch the fast-trickling drops. The stream beneath their bridge (itself fast turning to mud) burbles over into the skies of adjacent tiles, picking up colors, yellow Minions, red fox in the woods, sweeps up the laughing dolphin in its current, to puddle in the watchful shadow of the Sprites.

The skies crack wider. The phoenix consumes the eagle in puddles of fire. Black tears rust through Iron Man’s mask. Marilyn Monroe swoons in Spiderman’s arms over the vista of Eau Claire, as the octopus dissolves in the Plaza’s neon glow. The Nyan Cat’s rainbow leaks across Middle Earth, joins with the Pride rainbow, and cross-fades into Eau Queer in androgynous swirls.

The rabbits with the tentacle-ears have swum free — their ears flop frontwards, propel them feet-first toward the river, eyes on the tide behind them, watching a bleeding sun eclipse the crescent moon. Thunder peals and the bells of Schofield toll out and the rabbits are swept up in the torrent, all the colored dust of an afternoon smudged together, erasing lines, erasing all definition, until everything is rainbow, back to where it all began, a child’s solemn promise.