The Puffball

by Fleda Brown
Brown. No Need of Sympathy. The Puffball
Was beauteously, bulbously huge—redundant as a luminous moon—puffed and balled, seized by Uncle Richmond from the deep woods, plucked with both hands and brought to the doorstep for our amazement and accolades, and to be sliced and fried, tasting like nothing but slightly singed butter, which we happily shared back then, several years before he collapsed on the porch at 85 with a heart attack, having driven forty miles from Petoskey home clutching his chest, sweat streaming after the meeting where the argument was made to inject toxic wastes under the "perfectly safe" shelf of rock to mingle in the underground seas and sift slowly out to the Great Lakes as has happened before. He stood and said so, hands shaking more than usual, so that on the dark road home he had to stop for a minute near King's Orchard then drive on, legs finally giving way on his own front porch, Lee luckily hearing something like a branch falling, so he survived, lean and leaving to range through the forests after the fantastical and favor us with the tale of it, again, or occasionally with the whole thing, harbored and carried into our presence, a careful joy, mysteriously magnified, come upon as if the earth had started suddenly over.