Silky fur I cannot touch and doe eyes. What is inside
them? Curiosity? Perhaps. Fear? Why
must you always run? I extend a gentle hand
toward your whiskers. You approach. You
sniff. I go to scratch behind your ears--
too much, too fast. Off you go. Wild animals
are less skittish than you. I long to hold
you without whimpers of protest, tranquil
as when you lay in my sister’s bed. You look
so beautiful when you sleep. I admire
from a distance. You’re happier that way.
I have been memorized by winding dirt
doorways that led me to fantasy. Magical
forest -- it’s funny how simplistic we
name places when we’re children. Overgrown
rhododendrons surrounded me, my hands
plucked leaves off and ripped them mindlessly,
leaving a Hansel and Gretel trail of
torn chlorophyll. So monochrome
without their flowers; my mind painted
perfect, pink orbs onto green. A brown thrasher
flew by, or maybe a hummingbird.
I stared at the light dispersed
sporadically through branches, particles
floating and falling, gentle. Nearby,
I glanced at crocodile rock in the river.
My imagination was good at transforming
the static to life; shapes had more
personality. I tiptoed onto the slippery
surface, stepping on its mouth,
triumphant. Animal planet taught me
that their jaw is only strong when closing
and incredibly weak when opening.
I stood on the beast, and felt safe, strong,
running my fingertips on its bumpy scales.
Now, I see a large rock. I see empty
branches. I still hear birds, but
they’re hidden, my mind unable
to conjure up a flock. I see reality.
— The End —