In the Grass by Terry Bain

Alert

April Third

The dog now barking at the window, at 
the wind. It isn’t the wind that bothers 
her, but the uncertainty, the 
recognition of sound and movement she 
does not recognize that requires an
immediate response. She jumps up from a 
dead sleep and bounds to the sofa and barks 
at the window, at the wind. There 
is nothing outside the house right now, nothing 
but air shaking the Spring tree buds. This 
is not even much of a wind, but makes a 
peculiar noise, along with a jet passing overhead
so her barking becomes more stuccato 
and insistent. A skateboarder passes by — what
luck! — the smooth consistency of his motion 
gliding past the house is too much to bear. I 
worry she might burst through, barking 
and tearing after the skateboarder, glass 
cascading around her, cutting through the 
pads of her paws, a brittle sound of mania 
erupting outward and inward at once. But 
she is aware enough of the window barrier 
and not keen to break through. I give her
comfort in the form of lessons on momentum, on 
how the skateboarder pushes against the 
surface of the earth, which moves him forward. His 
own mass travelling in a direction combines 
with the reduced friction of wheels and makes 
him seem an aberrant animal, gliding past our house, 
unnatural, uncommon, and sinister. Of course I say 
this as much for myself as for her. It isn’t the 
wind or the tree or the skateboarder himself that 
bothers her, but the uncertainty, and if I speak
my most soothing tone of voice, I may for
a moment convince myself that uncertainty is 
the natural state of things thus giving myself 
over to it long enough to sleep.

Terry Bain is the author of You Are a Dog and We Are the Cat ‡ TwitterInstagramLetterboxdTinyLetter
Copyright 2019 Terry Bain