The dog has run off again but I think I see her tail between two trees in the distance. It could be bark. It could be dog. I crouch down and yell ‘come’ and she runs toward me with such a rush that she nearly knocks me over. Thank god she wasn’t tree. Below branches I find an owl pellet all tangled with the superfluous, to the owl anyway, parts of a mouse. I look up. A fan of feathers or a fan of branches? Thrill is the slightest breeze. I run because these legs are almost strong enough, this body almost small enough to run like I ran when I was ten and those bones knew no difference between running and flying. Flutters. Miniscule chills: A tiny burble from a frog in a shallow stream. A puzzle piece locked in place. A slow hand tucking hair behind ear. A bus tumbling over shallow but regular enough to establish a kind of rhythm. A banana shake. Head tilted back, neck exposed. A hip protruding. A turn of the head. A look from someone who knew you when and knows you now. A stumble trip but save! just a step-hiccup over a root of a tree that would like nothing better than to see you run.
Nicole Walker is the author of five books: Canning Peaches for the Apocalypse, Egg, Micrograms, Quench Your Thirst with Salt, and This Noisy Egg. She also edited Bending Genre with Margot Singer. She’s nonfiction editor at Diagram and Associate Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona where it rains like the Pacific Northwest, but only in July.