Branches, once a small bridge, lie over missing mud, lose their original meaning. Now, a hard turf sits like a soft concrete, an uneven glaze dried upon them.
The branches are caked, bricks in dirt, an ancient architecture.
I see the trail, in its post-primal state, its age, its meanings, wrinkles in dryness, a rough, hardened dialect.
The early heat plays tricks on the forest, taunts, beats, punishes.
Shadows crawl among dirt and wind, forming in the beams of sunlight, lose themselves, traveling the ripples. I was told never trust a shadow.
Beetles, desperate, walk across the refracting dirt, risk crossing daylight, hoping shadows will fool the birds.
A slug, not so lucky, small glob of goo, stuck ’til the sun takes all.
Trilliums, sluggish, darkened, carry a glint of hope. Their petals a fragile strength.
Nothing but the wind hints at moisture, A jet’s noise pierces the leaves’ puzzle.
And looking up, I lose the trail, falling, letting the camera fly,
then a cramp, my leg won’t move. All movement slowed.
I hear the skid of the camera, see the dry dirt on my knee, palms, elbows.
A cooling sweat enwraps me, dries quickly, my arms like branches, caked, with an uneven glaze.
Lying face up on the trail, like a beetle, a slug, a trillium, a shadow.
I look at the shades of green, of the trees above me, uncommon are the browns and yellows, so early.
Two walking by me, either from here or nowhere, lovers perhaps, offer no assistance…that’s when I know I’m a shadow, a slug, a beetle.
She walks by, wearing only a rust-colored dress, barefoot. Gives me a handkerchief, a sip of water, she does not smile.
That’s when I know I’m human. My leg begins to move.
I move with the ripple, my skin past dust, still arid in the act of movement.
The bare wind hurries us into each other.