Proper Burial / Clean Machines / Wheat Head

Red Head Marsh

 

Proper Burial

Each thing we take from the earth requires we bury something of equal value. Dinosaurs buried each other, where they fell, feathered, and massive. Still later, we bundle whole ships with furs for warmth, and spices to trade beneath the earth. One age buries another, patting dirt upon civilization.

Dogs understand the rules when they bury bones. We bury capsules filled with the fears we hope for most. Sealed coffee cans rattle with the remains of our best morning. In cement-lined pits we bury toxic waste, and then bury our heads in our hands, fingers interlaced, seepage inevitable. Some one always comes eventually to disinter all our ancestors. But more people live now than have ever been buried.

After ages spent polishing handles and blades, the time has come to dig. Start making holes in your yard or park. The beach invites the shovel. Excavate till you find the memory you’ve buried, transformed by time, pressure, darkness, and ready to be uncovered, cleaned, and tapped for energy.

 
 
The Learned Pig
 
 

Clean Machines

At last, they have built a machine that runs on data. It produces subtle energy; enough to generate a slight shift in an idea, to eliminate forks in a road, to ease a compromise.

In the mountains to the east, they mine continuously for data. The more data they find, the less meaning it has, and thus it generates the least energy. In the mountains to the west, they mine continuously for data. The more data they find, the more meaning it has, and thus it generates unthinkable energy.

Byproducts from the process are saved and further refined for more accurate magic 8 balls. Vast chimneys rise from the factory spewing effluvious and meaningless gases into the atmosphere.

 
 
The Learned Pig
 
 

Wheat Head

In the grain-belt, a company, specializing in genetically modified seeds, grows wheat whose sheaves droop low with pennies. Through careful inter-breeding they have been able to eliminate those with shields or Lincoln monuments. It’s really unnecessary, but seems like the most natural thing to do.

Breezes go unnoticed, but heavy winds provoke a cheerful, rhythmic clinking. Night after night, the sun presses the pink and orange waves, glints of copper on the die-press of the horizon, leaving behind an oily bronze impression that remains on the grain in the morning.

Sheaves contain up to 50 pennies, hulled by hand and warm to the touch. In some cases, the pennies have not fully formed, instead producing ordinary grain with a thin crust of zinc. Meanwhile, nearby farmers complain of cross-pollination, and the rains smell like metal.

 
 

Part of The Learned Pig’s Clean Unclean editorial season, March-May 2015.

Image credit: acapsj

 
 

The Learned Pig
 
 

Ori Fienberg

Ori Fienberg, a graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, publishes exclusively flash fiction and prose poetry regularly in venues such as Boaat, Diagram, Pank, Mid American Review, and Subtropics. He telecommutes to work for the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. With his fiancee and her dog, he explores the finest bridges Pittsburgh, PA has to offer.