The Circumference of Time

I remember the year they killed a million buffalo, putting bullets in their brains and their bellies. They’d leave the beasts where they fell, let them rot in the sun, a massacre for profit and for the naked pleasure of stamping something majestic off the back of the earth.

I’m told this is a thing I can’t remember, because it happened a hundred or so years ago, long before I was brought forth into the world. They can tell me whatever they want: I know what I know. There are no holes in my memory.

There is a loneliness in knowing. People don’t want to be reminded of what’s come before, and they don’t want to be around those who do remember. The past should stay yellowed and faded and barren. Letting it rise up from the black depths and into the shallows is never wise.

I remember the year they killed Joanne, one shot to the breast. Her perfect white skin, puckered and torn in a ragged circle. They left her to rot in the sun, like the buffalo, but a century removed from them. I tried to dig the bullet out, but it was too deep, too close to her heart. Not that it mattered anyway, as far from anywhere that we were.

They say she was already dead when I found her, but I know what I know. She lingered for a day, in the sun, no shade for miles and no way to move her to find any. She coughed once, then again, then no more.

Time is a circle. The evils of the past become the prophecies of the future. I remember the year they killed a million buffalo, and I will know the year they decide to kill a million more, the same million.

I am not a poet. I am an eye, floating high above the world, seeing everything in its true form, and not in the wisps and fog that those below can only see. The nature of things isn’t obscured to me.

I remember the year I killed them, three of them in trade for a million buffalo and one girl with perfect white skin left in the sun to rot. They never thought they would be found, but if one walks the circumference of time with enough diligence, nothing can ever be unknown.

On my left arm, I wear a swatch of green cloth, torn from Joanne’s shirt, stained red with the blood that poured from the puckered and torn circle in her perfect white skin. On my right arm, there is a strip of purple, taken from the shirt worn by the one who put the circle into her. I am a marauder, a revenant, a thug, a blinding light from above piercing through to the heart of everything.

I remember the year they killed a million buffalo and one young girl, and they aren’t the same year, but of course they are: the same circular year, stretching on and on until it rises again on its own horizon, like a wave crashing in on itself, past becoming present becoming future becoming past again.

One million years is the same as one young girl in the desert.

I know what I know.



For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, The Lime challenged me with “Wearing purple and green, like a thug” and I challenged Wendryn with “When the fog comes in off the water, it makes me…”






6 responses to “The Circumference of Time”

  1. The Lime Avatar

    Kameko — this is gorgeous. I love what you did with the challenge. The line about time (the same circular year, stretching on and on until it rises again on its own horizon, like a wave crashing in on itself, past becoming present becoming future becoming past again) just hit me in the stomach. It is exactly right for the trauma you’re describing and the essence of time within memory.


    1. Kameko Avatar

      You are very sweet, thank you.

      I wasn’t sure if any of this was going to make narrative sense or not, but I eventually decided that the feel of the words were more important to me than anything else, so I ran with it.

      Abstract can be lovely sometimes.

  2. Kelly Garriott Waite (@kgwaite) Avatar

    This is absolutely stunning. Beautifully written.

    1. Kameko Avatar

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it.

  3. Bran macFeabhail Avatar

    I dig it. Love the buffalo

    1. Kameko Avatar

      And the buffalo dig you!

      I’m very late responding to this.

      I’m a bad girl.

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