Beauty and the Bomb

He spun the grains in twirled design. Waves rippling into stasis. Shifting carefully to the side, the gardener dragged the rake around him. Slowly, so as not to disturb the work. He stepped lightly behind the pattern. Always ahead of him. Never stop. The tool must continue. The art following.

The teeth passed through the grains, coalescing around. Sun beat upon the dry cracked moonscape. Shielding his face with one hand, he moved deftly. The ideal, he knew, a smooth glide. No matter how his body ached. How the heat sent peals of stinging sweat into his eyes.

He persisted. Decades passed and now his life mirrored the efforts in the sand. Hard weathered hands gripped the tool and led it raking across. The drone came from far away. A humming electric slicing through reverie. Growing.

Something like sadness passed across the gardener’s face. The work would stand, for now. But he would have to go. Taking in the work, he breathed a deep sigh. Always the same. Never wanting the end. A hard scrape and we would be back in a day, to start new again.

The sound grew. Urgency now, winnowing through the canyons beyond. Goodbye, the gardener turned. Oblivion to come here now. Life lived and the work of art to begin after. But now, the range was live and from above, erasure.