Some of us are here to toil. Some to travel, to taste the hidden nectar of the world. And some to lap at the puddles of gratification, drink at the stagnant ponds of indulgence. We are all examples of our own worst selves. With fingers worn so their bony grasp disgusts those they touch in their finality. Fat and poor, nothing in the pocket but stories. Or snatched flailing into a murky eddy by the crocodile of his brain stem desire. And the others watch.
I am sparring with a thrift-store phantom, perched piggy-back on a man with a false horse head. I wield an impotent weapon — a miniature beaver’s tail at the end of a stick. We are suddenly old. It isn’t gradual. I didn’t choose this weapon, it chose me, like Excalibur, but cruel. It seems apparent the outcome is not important
I have reached a sort of cosmically unshaven repose. I lay with my head at the trunk of the willow, its leafless branches overtaking my vision like a slowly winking sleep. I have toiled, I have traveled. I have drunk too long at the well. I am an example to myself.
The ice groans as it heaves and splits, rolls under itself and buckles its brother. It’s pushed by the wind, only to collide after mere inches of travel. It sounds…exasperated. I feel it in my body, in my shoulders, like wings folded under my skin, constricted. They push but remain in bondage, roll and plead for room to unfurl, are fettered and so grind against the underside of my rind, and groan.