Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Deserters

(Inspired by The Occasion's The Deserters and my life)

The damp cold seeped through the glass of the car window against which she pressed her hand, eyes fixed, staring at me -- or something beyond me. I kneeled in the dirt, my hands freezing, my nails blunted by stones as I dug the graves. The ground was wet. I glanced back at her; noticed the condensation leaving trails as drops of water inched down the window. Now I could see only the base of her palm and the tips of her fingers and a vague silhouette.

I thought about my promise. I promised that I’d never leave.

The feel of cold, dead skin as I dragged the bodies from the woods and across the field. I peeled back the lids and looked in their eyes; tried to find some life in there. I still have the dreams. My childhood. As my parents drove along hedged-in roads through the early morning -- the fog made the hills look like islands and I rested my forehead against the cold window, let my suede jacket brush against my cheek, focused on my reflection and then again on the green and gray as it crawled past us.

I thought about my promise. I ran.

Through the forest and into a ravine where I could hear the sound of a river and leaves and her voice calling my name. She could never catch me. I doubled back and lost her as her cries faded into the fog and I found the fort my friends had made under a fallen tree.

I am shooting beer bottles with a pellet gun – they’re balanced on a tree stump. I killed a bird yesterday. I watched it fall through the trees to the ground, and I ran to see how badly I’d hit it. It’s blood was deep red and it clung to the leaves like honey; I put a hole through it’s neck.