A lament for REW<<

We watch the dog wander off but don’t realize he’s really gone until our calls are transposed by echoes. There’s no chaos to how we look for him, this being a habit of his. We just wander through a long empty field edged by a sharp population of raspberry shrubs. Beyond that, there’s a churchyard where taxidermied wolves are placed to scare away geese. We’ve found the dog here before, sprawled beside the wooden stand that one of his ancestors is bolted to, like he’d been cowered to sleep. Today there’s no sign. We search more, still empty, then give up and walk the miles home. It’s the gulch between seasons, tending colder. We reach out to each other and I grow incredibly happy; oak leaves grow from my beard. It takes an hour maybe, or more. A whole day spent this way. When we arrive, there are bruises on the arches of her feet. She calls out from the other room. I go to her, tell her, “I cannot understand what you are saying, but I want to kiss you.” Her skin has inky freckles that feel gritty. The moment cripples me. There are termites in this house of love. We bathe in a sense of unease. Her hair never seems to dry. The hollowed sound of my heartbeat startles the ghosts at night. It rattles the foundation. Outside, it’s gotten dark in a way that feels like the world is folding in on itself. The moon looks full enough to pop. We take separate beds; I fall into mine like a lunatic collapsing against some Midwestern wailing wall. In the young dawn I’m awoken by a sound outside that moves nearer and nearer, a rowdy imitation of something wild. My dog, I think, on his journey back home, regurgitating some ancestral keen into the lingering pockets of darkness. I try to look outside but discover the curtains have stuck to the frost at the edges the windows. A short while later, the I hear a whimpering at the door. Opening it, I find the dog, blood running down his ear. It’s impossible, I realize, to ever be quite what you’d hoped.

(Originally written as companion to REW<<’s Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs, which you should go listen to.)

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