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9-17-12

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In a world where people lose themselves within phones, where their names can glow brighter than any man-named star in the sky, a girl walks alone. The road is one of dust from her shoes and those of tires across a thousand miles of land, but her steps reveal certainty in the path. There is no straying to be done, lest she veers to the edge of a hill or a slope where a river lies in the patient swirls of a clouded Van Gogh painting; the water she sees is not the same of yesterday, for it is far beyond where she can go now, into kenopsic lands where imagination festers within decayed fish. The lights of a semi-truck flash far ahead of her, beyond the dip of chilled movement or the sways of trees with their arms alight. The attic bulb of the first house upon the hill glows and dims before the dog hears her twisted footing make rigid progress down the grassy slope.

She teeters past cinderblocks abandoned long, and totters on ant hills too large for their intended inhabitants, though the owner of such – whatever it is – does not snake out to greet her. Another flare of light across a river too wide to leap from as a cheering couple pack up their voices from a game of softball well performed and exit the cement squares of the parking lot. The air, like a frozen china cup, holds a crisp fragility to it the nearer she verges on the cusp of the riverbank. The water stirs below, though it makes no sound as it moves along, never squandering itself for too long around an errant log or twist of rock. The moon and stars are not bright enough to reflect themselves in the hard, yet not dense, darkness. Miles away, a child dives into sleep as a mother cups a fingerful of untamed hair between unlotioned hands made for hard work; the girl leans down as gingerly, fingertips ghosting across the surface with just as much motherly instinct. Caring, though determined to be a substantial shape in the flooded void.
The risk of falling in too deeply hinders any worming forward, but the few droplets sticking to her fingers are enough. Pale skin unwraps itself from writhing snake muscles. The arms, once with lumps from unforgiving judgments of the worth of a girl who would give herself no first place prizes, plop back into the water. New skin becomes thin and smooth as the stem of a wine glass. She thinks, as bones thicken and slide across each other, she can be better as this. As her body shivers and regrows, re-imagines and relapses into a timid skeleton with tectonic plates for a skeletal system, the skin begins to splotch back over to hide the empty white inside.
In a world where computer screens illuminate eyes into the photoshopped glow of marketable pills of a genteel, chemical joy and you are the one who made the world with fatherly conditioning, a boy trudges up from a river where the water flowed a diaphanous, quixotic, and ridiculous girl too afraid to be worthwhile. He walks lonely, the road one of dusty imprints where he can act as she should, though his steps grow unmatched and the headlights of a sputtering car cannot illuminate him. Stay with me, he wants to whisper to the girl who once took their body down to the river, but the fish are feasting well tonight and only the trees shake to his S.O.S.




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