The Apple Trees

We crept out toward the center of the frozen lake,
far past what the old signs advised. We knew that if we quit moving
we would fall. Cracks leapt from beneath our boots and a few of us turned back.
Those that were left walked until we could no longer see the shore behind us.
We would stop every so often and point back, it's back there. Every step
was some sort of miracle. The ice was on our side. We walked
until we came across two trees in the middle of nowhere. They were thin
black lines sticking out of the thin black ice giving way beneath our feet.
This will be where we put the next town someone said, and everyone agreed.
There would be rules. Things we had to do, as always,
but we would need to be delicate. Quiet. We would need to walk in circles.
And the circles would need to be larger sometimes
but smaller others.

Ben Clark is the author of Reasons to Leave the Slaughter (Write Bloody 2011). He is an assistant editor at Muzzle Magazine and lives in Chicago. You can also find him at

Colin Winnette is the author of three books: Revelation, Animal Collection, and Fondly. A detailed list of prizes and publications and animal pics can be found at He lives in San Francisco with his wife and a very loud refrigerator.