Sunday, January 20, 2008


The house slouches amid the green grasses and yellowed weeds. The concrete paths roll out from the back yard and side porch into the waiting street. They are cracked with great seismic lines out of which crab grass and yellow flowers spring eager to consume man's plan.
On the little side porch there are two men sitting on wooden chairs. To their left, the backyard glows in predawn light. Fruit has fallen from the pomegranate tree and lies rotting among the brick border that has been pushed into disarray by the tree roots. The grass is tall and mingles with anything else that will grow, some of it alive and some of it dead.
There is a creature chained to the back fence. The fence itself is chain link interlaced with brittle wooden blinds. Vines littered with little purple morning glories cling everywhere to its surface. The beast is fastened to it by the neck with a nickel colored chain. So short is the chain that the creature must keep its face pressed into the vines and may not sit.
It stands upright as a man, dressed in jeans and a faded red flannel, but the face is all wrong. Its head is devoid of hair and ears, and something like a short snouted dog muzzle is filled with fierce spike-like teeth. Its deformities call to mind some transitory phase in lupine development, it is neither man nor animal nor even a fully formed monster.
A young woman in a white dress stands very near to it, singing soothingly. Her flaxen hair flows freely over her shoulders and her feet are bare. Capturing drops of dew from the leaves of the vines in one cup she pours the water from that cup to another in a single fluid motion. Without fear of bestial impulse, she gently pours the water into the creature’s open maw, singing its own song to it.

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