We wanted to go for a swim but the pond was an oval of green slime. A suspicious fog was rolling in but the real problem was the river, which had turned to poison. In a week we would see entire schools of dead fish floating downstream, their white bellies turning in the black water like a line of moons slipping across the sky. But we didn’t know any of that yet. We had our whole lives ahead of us. One by one we stepped through the barbed wire fence and took our places among the cows.

Originally from Michigan, Brad Liening currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’s the author of Deep State Come Shining (PS Hudson).