Spear Dusk

It is dusk in late autumn and I walk in silence through the forest. I punch at a tree, stop before making contact. I spare it, this time.

There are deer footprints on the trail and I follow them around the river’s gentle and eroding curve. I can see the grasses trampled down where the paths of deer lead toward the swamp. My open palm wheels around, is inches away from slapping the pale, smarmy bark of a birch. Lucky birch.

There’s a nest in the crook of a low branch. It hangs over a small hollow where small stones and leaves collect. I kick hard with my left foot, but hold back at the last minute. For now, the sugar maple is safe.

I arrive at a clearing. The forest floor is quilted with a mottled assembly of leaves. I am surrounded by the interlocking conversations of branches.

A bird flies overhead. From somewhere in the forest, the chirrup of squirrels. I rest on a fallen tree limb.

I used to have a problem with violence; now I only hurt trees when I am angry with them.

He appears before you, throws a spear at your heart. You happen to have a large book in your breast pocket. The spear pierces the books’ pages, but stops miraculously at the last page, just before entering your skin. You find a place of safety and carefully remove the spear-in-the book. You compile a list of the words that the spear went through, and read them. These words form a message. With trembling heart, you read what it says. 'Duck next time someone throws a spear at you,’ it says.