They stab into the tray of sunflower seeds—a downy woodpecker, titmice with black dot eyes, jittery chickadees, a blackbird shrieking “raw! raw!” Kinglets so small the neighborhood hawk swallows them whole. This flitter a tremble of lagoon, I’m on it, floating face up. The snake bird’s yard-long neck, like a loose cord in the water beneath me, tightens suddenly, her lunge rippling through lungs and heart. What do I remember? Another compass time, the shadow falling, a weathered lattice separating caution from the ragged smell of animals. Lesser paw prints on the kitchen window, the compost bag torn apart, all that inedible rind and dusk—the milk bone thrown to the giant hound that slavers in the woods. A quiet snowfall softening detail, powdering to the touch.

John Allman | Mudlark No. 31
Contents | Boundaries