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Johnny will.


by Mary Hamilton


He will sit still to observe the death of shadows. Pulling his arms into the torso of his shirt and pulling the torso of his shirt over his knees, he will stay warm for a while. Johnny will. Johnny will find his own way home.

Closing his eyes he dreams wings, woven vines, brittle broken tendrils pulling through skin, purling into cabled knots that make for wings, lifting him, carrying his weight, his sleeping dead heft, his surrendered body. These wings that he can't know the distance of reaching, of forest, of time it takes to carry him to the edge and these wings slowing their movement and with a final flit of shedding bark and earth and leaves and petals made for spring, these wings settle him at the border of trees. Opening his eyes he finds himself turned over in the mud and roots, turning tasting turned over earth. He will sit still to observe the death of shadows. Johnny will. Johnny will do this. Johnny will. Johnny will find his own way home.

He stays like this, side over side, turned over and waiting. He watches the ground twitter, focuses on one spot until he can decipher independent bodies of ants moving in grass and dirt, moving and making a home. He will sit still to watch the death of shadows. These shadows pull, they stretch and linger. Their shapes melt into roots. These shadows reach, cover ground, become each other. These shadows draw into the roots of surrounding trees. These shadows return.

He sees a river, water he can drink all day, all night. He follows the river as it moves with the cursive of the landscape. As it crests a hill. And standing there at the top he sees trees and only trees. He follows the river as it winds him back to the start and the shadows that cradle. Johnny will. Johnny will find his own way home. He will wait. He will open his mouth to speak. He will sit still to watch the death of shadows. Johnny will. Johnny will find his own way home.

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