During these dull hours of algebra my good friend, the quiet one, didn’t fill the margins like those of his peers. His pictures did not depict fates of high caliber scratched with a blood-colored pen. And he took his time. We had so much time then. With long lines he lightly drew the ghosts of trees in winter, the grief of a hungry spring, a necessary violence not made by man but by something much larger and more terrifying, which in the end we still could not name.
A boy and a girl passed by me in the cemetery. They spoke in young tongues. I had forgotten how to speak like that, and could not return their hellos. They clasped hands and ran at full speed down the hill, past the children’s plot with its chipped lambs gathering moss, past the dead squirrel picked over by crows, past a season’s determined oak leaves. Down they ran to the bottom of the hill, where they slowed their gangly limbs, and sat among the soldiers’ graves to smoke a joint they had just scored. I went on my way, looking for a place to sleep, and my friend, the quiet one, walked beside me, always in step, but no footprints.
The girl blocked my view of the lake again, standing with arms wide in her striped sweater. We all wore the same sweaters here. She was a reflection of me if and when I needed one. I didn’t like to look at myself in mirrors because I always saw my friend standing behind my shoulder. Now the girl was laying down. She had her back in the grass and bees in her eyes. We stared up together. She said she was waiting for the single crow as it warred overhead among blue jays. It screamed for a calvary. She knew the loss was inevitable, that the bird would plummet like an anvil into her chest. Just a crow, they would say later, consoling her in the ward, but she no longer trusted the weight of things.
Photo By: xgravity23