If heaven were full of little zodiac-zoned villages, then Helen Keller and George Sand would be neighbors on the same crab-shaped island and Octavia Butler and Lucille Clifton would share one abundant garden plot. William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White would teach night classes to all of their fellow Cancers and every evening of the week there’d be a different dinner party: Ernest Hemingway with the catch of the day, George Orwell with his Bachelor Griller, Jean Stafford and her spare ribs, Oliver Sacks with the sushi, and M.F.K. Fisher and Anthony Bourdain with some endless array of culinary delights. Family and friends would paddle in from other places and Nathaniel Hawthorne would read aloud by moonlight the work of other Cancerian legends: Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, The Little Prince, Siddhartha.
Instead of street addresses, each house would be labeled by birthday - the village mapped from June 21 to July 22 - with every road ending at the water. The waves would be warm but tempestuous, much like the bathers wading in them, and the dawn would be lit by the flickering candles of countless authors at work.
Here is where Charlotte Perkins Gilman lives, plucking lemons fresh from June Jordan's front-yard tree. Here is where Hunter S. Thompson, Franz Kafka, and the other Cancers live: where they dance and weep and write under the moon they are ruled by, where words wax and wane with their million moods.
Sarah J. Bofenkamp is a reader, writer, and librarian living in Palouse, Washington.