by dschapman

Not much longer have I been than done as I did once before, and will I do again, I will, I will, I know that I will do it. That was the best way I have been and I have never once been better. That was as bad as it got back then. That is the cold in the tree with quivering leaves. The sun dipped low then in the valley and our affections fell with it, long and misremembered, until we could remember as old as the earth, a memory yielding and cracking like ice. I don’t remember the way that I held her and I couldn’t feel the pulse between our skin again because nothing else beat faster or farther or without less acquiescence, flour-coated and billy-goated, as the long dawn dying did the day and once the urns filled up again, lost in the dance of the dust from the flattened dirt floor.

I parted not without my usual bitterness. Those were lost years and that was sharp and bitter. I took it calmly in my throat like a spearhead and served up my time in the stocks. Punished I remained untreated, and sick, and I fell in with a prayer to the Christ of my childhood. In the symbol of the cross I could just hardly stand it, open to the Son and flailing, riding on my wooden mule towards the long-dreamed delusion of sanctuary. A pastor in the rice paddy with a gun in hand, holding his hernia from falling out of his sagging stomach, love all wasted and heart unfulfilled. The order meant that no one lived, and no one in the order lived.

Night time was short then and stopped existing. The only time was morning and evening and night turned over its in listless shift for the long, silent summer. “There are no people here,” it said, “Not anymore.” They looked away from the terrible thing they had done. It laid there before him, viscous and clear, and a cool gale blew in from the hills in the West.

We slept alone together in the badlands… strangers there, as everywhere – afraid of death, on the verge of dying, in the dark – two final beings, in the first of many final forms, sand in their eyes with a sigh at the crossroads…