It's summertime on the flats. Flies buzz inside homes, slamming against windows—buzz, thud, buzz thud. If they don't find a way out, their perfect upside-down carcasses will line the window sill. Janie has been thinking about putting the dead flies into a jar.
Outside, Tree feels like an old person whose bones ache before the rain. But it isn't raining. Far from it. The heat and lack of water in mid August is causing debilitating exhaustion. Parched, its leaves hang listless like dried tongues. Beneath the surface, roots go into a state of stasis to conserve energy. Not so for the sapling that grew outside tree's canopy and whose leaves are brittle, curled and brown.