Dogs 2013

BARELY BREATHING
(10/14/13)


I sit
in the den

music playing

game on TV

muted

no calls
no texts
no emails
no visits

I sit
in isolated
anonymity

something's
gotta change

I turn
off
everything

put on
my shoes

and go
for a walk

a few
blocks away
a runner
approaches

I'm walking
against traffic
as suggested
but she's coming
right
at me

at the last
second
I shift
to the curb
and she passes
without the slightest
acknowledgment

strange

I shrug
it off
and continue

about
a mile
away
a crow
pecks at
a squirrel
carcass
directly
in the road
ahead

it picks
and pulls
and I believe
that it sees
me
coming

but it doesn't
fly away
or hop
to the side

since
I really
don't want
to walk through
the roadkill
I go around

the bird
never flinches

I reach
a trail
set aside
for runners
and pedestrians

I am
the only
one
there

as I crunch
the dirt
and gravel
I see
a grasshopper
in the middle
of the path
a few feet
away

I believe
that I perceive
a minimal movement
of the antennae
as I take
the last stride
before crushing
the insect
under foot

it
doesn't jump
away
as I close
the distance

I don't intend
to kill
needlessly
so skip
a step
and leave it alive
behind me

as I turn
for home
a very
small
butterfly
flutters
an intersecting
course

just
as it's about
to crash
into my thigh
it does a 180
and diverts
it's direction

if a butterfly

even
a tiny
one

registers
my existence
I guess
that there's still
some life
left
after all

with that
settled
I head
for the house
wondering
who won
the game