Downtown, my headlights round the marina. And, like the way your knuckle jams sometimes (that empty pain), it’s snowing again. The tires barely crunch as I pull up to the edge of the lake. City lights glow behind, dark water in front; and all I can think is how old things are covered, with new things replaced. I loved you once. My tracks fill with snow.
Together we looked out against the Sea of Time, but we caught only glimpses of the past. So much has happened that will not be remembered. Overwhelmed and ashamed of my own smallness, I looked away. But Hasha caught my hand and pointed.
“This was the day the walls of Hannok fell,” she whispered. “I remember.” Her breath was lost on the wind, like so many memories swallowed by the yawn of time. What words, what wisps like anyone’s secure themselves in history? They are not the noblest, nor the most beautiful, nor even the loudest. They are what we find after the dust has settled.
The prairie is vast, flax seed blooming from your toes to the horizon. Blue touching blue, a union. Incurable sweetness in your lungs. This would be a good death, you think. It’s peaceful. It’s pure.
But you move on.
The challenge of a hill and the pleasure of a valley – the arc between your shoulder blade and spine – marks a preferred route through the blazed trees. There’s pleasure in a climb. Your lungs sigh with exertion. Not all labor is toil, you say as your calves grow lean and strong and your back straightens towards the sun.
This part of the walk always gives me the creeps, but my dog pulls behind the circle of apartment houses, back at the edge of the creek, with no regard for my fears. Animals are supposed to be more attuned to the spirit world, right? So if there’s something out there, she would know. This is what I tell myself as she takes a leisurely squat next to the loquat. I ready a plastic bag, and just as it closes around the warm excretion steaming into the night air, I hear it. Click. Whiff.Continue reading →
We reincarnate as beasts more and more cruel. Each pass through fate’s transmogrifier sharpens our claws, sour hunter’s instincts. Why say goodbye when I’ll see you again, your canines extended down below your jaw? Fur matted, dripping blood either yours or mine. It makes no difference. They’re practically the same now. We’re practically the same dumb beasts, playing on inherited senses. Driven by the compulsion to bite, kill, feed. I feel the coiling of your limbs burning in my own sinew, can sense your strike but not prevent it. Then around again through kill, rebirth. Wicked jaws bared, murders stacked.
He was a bullet swiftly guided through the azure pool. Twenty feet down and his chest tightened like a hammer pulled back to click. This was the farthest he’d dove since childhood, when dares were innocent and stakes unknown. Continue reading →
Because a gulf of time surrounds me, I sit at a coffee house across from the trains to await departure. Each engine roars into the station with a wash of passengers, comings and goings. Fresh surf. The wave rumbles. Then they’re gone. And I wait, and wait, my nose in latte foam. Jealous for their oceans, impatient for my own.
Logs crackle as Hasha watches the needle in her mother’s hand pierce and reemerge from the embroidered hem of her father’s coat. Threads weave their family’s history into the garment’s borders: the victory with the defeat, the joy with the loss.
“Here is the day your grandparents married,” says Mother, pointing to two silver doves. “And here is the night fire claimed their barn.”
“What happens when the border’s complete?” Hasha asks, wondering if her life will count towards the colorful threads in her family’s coats.
“Then we’ll begin again,” Mother smiles, and clips the threads between her teeth.
We’d come to see the last of the Mermaids, called it a conservation trip but really we were just there to gawk. And point. Stand in the background of a CNN reporter’s camera and wave to our friends back home who had thought we were cruel to come so far just for a sideshow. Continue reading →
That earthy, peaty smell like so many earthworms’ private fantasies richened the air that morning. The world was keeping secrets, and Jørgen was set on discovery. He sharpened his tools, mended his bag, and looked up the hill. The sun was high by now. He groaned.