I lived by apple orchards filling a small valley between hills of oak trees. There was a cement aqueduct running in front of our house and under the road. It separated the orchards from us. Sometimes drunk drivers crashed down into it, their cars getting stuck between the two cement walls, broken glass scattering to the bottom. Once, my sister and I ran out to the driver, a drunk man saying, Don’t call the cops, it’s alright, I just need to call my Dad. I just need him to pull me out. I’m fine, I’m fine. During storms it rushed like a river, the water level spilling over the edge, overflowing with the color of dirt. The sound became a natural background to the day. In the summer it dried up and we’d climb down into it and walk in it, on either side of us the brown ivy hanging dead along its walls, the glass from the car gone, washed away, beer bottles resting down there, filled with dried mud, their brown glass smoothed over from the previous winter.

M. J. Kelley has worked as a salesmen, graphic designer, English tutor and a professional sailor on the San Francisco Bay. He currently lives with his loving wife and daughter in Oakland, California. His website can be found at