A Walk


     Yesterday I went for a walk, and the world was mine. It was just me and my dog; the only two people in the river’s sight, the only two people ever to live. Heavy water spread in waves against mudded cliffs. Their sound was cylinders, wind chimes.
Always we looked past the houses lining the shore. We looked through time. I could almost see the great river when her heart beat blood and not oil. How I would have loved to swim without spitting lingering drops of poison from my tongue.
But not that day, for the air cut my hands stiff and red. A mist of soft warmth blew with southern wind. So I pretended I wasn’t cold.
We stopped to listen to waterfalls, my dog’s round nose against dark earth. Months ago my friend and I found a dead rabbit on the side of the road. Right there. For a moment we doubted his death. With a long stick we carried the eyeless face to a fern bush. And there, we let his entirety return.
Soon I started to run, just to run. I tilted my head back and ran with the sky. When I was little, I thought the sky had two colors. White and blue. But a white sky is built of clouds. This day I saw blue, and reached my arms wide. My dog trotted beside me, her fur flowing in long strings. We jumped and laughed, for it was only us.
I burst into childish sprints, just to let my feet drum, while the arms of my thick winter coat scratched against my sides. When I came to a row of nameless yellow trees, I stopped to breathe. Everywhere it smelled of winter, a flatness charmed by smoke.
In the dead leaves on the ground, in the rocks in the water, I began to know what was real. Of all humanly thoughts, what mattered, what should be broken. Suddenly I knew what meant something. I knew what was false.
And in that moment, I became first and last and only.
Then my dog and I chased the sun. On a bench we found him, pale, waning. There we squinted and sighed. The firs soon took him from us. So, me and my dog, we kept walking, and running. We gave the world back. And we followed the river back home.


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