Tuesday, September 25, 2012

about an owl

The sun rolls over and pulls the cloud cover up to her neck. It's morning but she's not ready to get up.

I am, though. Ready. Despite the sleep stuck in the corners of my eyes. I open the door into the morning that pretends to be night. I haven't brushed my teeth and I'm wearing a winter cap over my sleep shuffled hair: the season has turned chilly, at least for today.  For right now. The dog snuffs with anticipation or expectation or maybe just because the insides of her nostrils are shocked by the air temperature. It was just a few minutes ago that she was asleep with her nose tucked into her knee, like a bird without any wings.

Then out from the watery darkness comes a voice, stuttering over a single word, a flashlight beam flickering.

Who-who who?

I haven't heard him speak in so long. I didn't know how much I missed him. Where has he been living? Has he been talking to anyone else? Have they been able to answer? Do they understand the question?

I haven't been thinking about it at all, and now he's asking every day. There must be answers somewhere, under these layers of hair and skin and blood and bone but I'm afraid to open my mouth. The thing that comes out might not be words at all. A scream? Vomit? Nothing pretty. Or maybe a single exhale, a puff of breath, a wing shifting in the dark.

The dog is already at the bottom of the driveway, waiting. I inhale deeply and hold it, soaking my lungs in night. Ink fills the sponge.