Dust | creative nonfiction by Melissa Mulvihill


Right there on the sidewalk, a meteor becomes a monument becomes a crushed-up memory becomes an untethered belief, and then becomes green to you, and mostly orangish red to me. 

This is how it is with very old things. 

A meteor comes crashing through our sky and gives us a myth that we wrap in scraps of us, mixed in with a bit of bone and blood, juniper bushes, and fallen down trees. Over time, we eat our myths, and they become us, and we reshape ourselves. 

You say you were definitely walking away from Fairmont Road and the meteor was to your right in the night sky, and I say I was definitely walking west on Berkshire at mid-day, and the meteor was to my left.

When we come of age, we crack open our sky, and I glow with infrared light. Even though our atmosphere can’t absorb all of me and some of parts of me escape into outer space, I know we are here by fusion and by merger, and probably by collision too, impelled by the dust to become it. So, when the myth caves, when we know that we have held things and felt things differently, I say, what matters is that we swallowed the very same meteor dust and you have to know enough to recognize the taste of meteors left on your tongue after you swallow them, otherwise they might escape you altogether. 

This is how it is with very old things. 

They leak out or they gush out in our faces and rush down our bodies and pool at our feet. We use our hands to staunch the flow, and when our hands grow weary with the weight of us, we use our hearts, and we gather the old things that have fallen like dead stars looking back up at the sky, and we re-shape them into new earths come to claim all of the parts of herself. 

Outside the moon is bleaching our woods white, and inside, with my ear pressed against your back, I am your heartbeat, filled with the silhouettes of our trees as they scrape our inky black sky. 

We are one part myth and one part dust. 

I don’t say it out loud, but I will never not swallow meteors with you.

Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at bethpeddle.com and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram

Melissa Mulvihill writes about the stabby, the smudgy, and the edges of longing in her relationship with herself and those she loves. She graduated long ago from Kenyon College with a BA in psychology and from John Carroll University with an MA in counseling. She’s retired from homeschooling and counseling and lives in northeast Ohio with her husband, who totally understands that some things you learn over time and some things you have to just be kicked in the face to get. She has work forthcoming in Anti Heroin Chic Magazine and Wishbone Words Magazine. You can find her complete published works at MelissaMulvihill.com.