Gunshots echoed over the rolling hills. The sky was big, and the farmer was sweating under the glare of the sun.
He wiped his forehead and listened for a moment, and he returned to his work in the field. Plates of dry mud crumbled under his shovel.
A truck passed by on the side road. The young Korean People’s Army driver steered methodically. Clouds like mammoths came, floating slowly and silently.
The farmer’s muscles strained as he dug out dead roots and put them, one after another, into a wheelbarrow. Sweat rolled into his eye, which twitched from the saltiness, and when he opened it, he saw a beetle clambering on the sand mountains.
He looked up again, and he scratched an itch in his ear, with a calloused finger. The dry roots in the wheelbarrow were shaking in a gust of wind.
His wife, rough-skinned, sun-brown, and hardy like he, came out from their small house, with a cup of water, walking to him in the dry field.
He took the cup and drank the warm water as another truck with more people, on their way to the hills, came up the road.
Alzo David-West is a writer, poet, and academic. His creative writing appears in Antimatter, Cha, Eastlit, Missing Slate, Offcourse, StepAway Magazine, Tower Journal, and Transnational Literature. He is also the editor of scifaiku translations in Silver Blade and Star*Line.