“I think I can make it through today,” he whispers,
“if I move slowly.”
As if he is wading into a lake, hoping
that the depths will not consume him,
even when it feels like he’s freezing.
“Yes, I can make it through today,” he thinks,
“if I am quiet—” if he
pretends that the wooden floor is rice paper,
soft and delicate. He must be careful about where
he puts his weight. He must hold himself up,
up, resist the shaking of his own legs. A quivering forest.
“I can make it through if I am unseen.” So
he leaves the bedroom light off, in case it feels too bright
against his skin. In case anyone tries to observe him.
(It is easier to be briefly unnoticed today.
To rest his wary body, uninterrupted, for now.)
“I can make it through” because he has travelled here before;
he never quite understands how this place came to be,
only that it is lonely and shifting before his very eyes.
Always shifting, beyond the staggering trees. And he can make it through
if he puts one foot in front of the other, accepts how they plunge into the wet earth.
Inhale and exhale. And wander some more.
Editors: Evie F, Sam L, Sandhya G, Siyean P
Cover photo/art source: