I woke up this mornin’ with a pain curled up beside me, askin’ to be let out for a walk.
Alright, I said. Grab your coat.
How many times have you woken’ up and gotten yourself into a day that wasn’t made for you? I walk out the door and the shadow pain trots along, happy as can be that I’m keepin’ it company.
Now, there’s a door here in this conversation that I’m not sure I wanna walk through.
Grab your coat.
When I was a kid, my horse could understand what was comin’ before I could. We’d be ridin’ along in the mesquite and I’d be cryin’, just letting her go wherever she wanted. Faster. I’d feel her lift off a bit more and I’d lean closer to her neck.
Tell me somethin’, I’d say.
Funny thing is, fields opened up. I mean whole worlds! I’d jump into the body of the field, right off my horse, or together with her, into the mouth of it and become the dust.
Once, the sun was settin’. I remember cryin’ because I thought:
The body is so small, and nothin’ can be done about it.
You get up, somethin’ follows you out, and your body doesn’t know what to do with the shadow pain.
But I knew I could ride into a field somewhere and somethin’ would make sense.
So I rode faster and faster. We hurried along and it grew darker, more colorful than God. Or just about.
I said, Tell me somethin’.
She’d respond by kickin’ up more dust, goin’ faster.
You know the roll of it, she said. You know the ground splits for us.
I know, I know, I said. Keep talkin’.
And the body of a child, hinged between bein’ small and goin’ into a world of larger things, that feelin’ of shadow pain, tried to catch up.
Faster, I said, faster!
The ground split for us. The field opened up.
Once, I heard my name in the beat of how the body feels, headed toward wind and God’s horizon. Not that I tasted our auras. I was older then and afraid.
Somethin’ was stolen. I was tryin’ to get it back.
Talkin’ to my horse helped. She laughed at me so often when I tore my clothes and rolled in the field just to feel the split.
She said, I know. I know what you’re thinkin’ before you say it.
Now I only hear her in dreams. Usually she’s dyin’ and I feel guilty for leavin’ her alone.
I woke up this mornin’ with a pain curled up next to me, askin’ to be let out for a walk.
You think I’d walk around, tearin’ my clothes now? You think I got a field openin’ up to me now? I’m just sayin’ somethin’ used to happen to me until it didn’t.
You wake up and there’s shadow pain lookin’ at you, wantin’ you to carry it off to a field and bury it. Just listen, this happens but people don’t understand, or see properly.
Last night, I dreamed my horse had been broken in two. Layin’ there bleedin’ to death. I woke up and asked the shadow beside me to speak. It wouldn’t. Shadow pains are mute creatures. Nothin’ but God in there, waitin’ for you to notice. But I wasn’t about to give it any mind. Not until I found myself standin’ in front of a mirror scremain’ HOLY SHIT! Who’s face is this? You know what I mean? You know how the whole world wakes up and you’re still sleepin’?
Damn if a field opened up and you didn’t crawl inside just to hide from your own thoughts, which ain’t yours anymore.
This is what it was like.
I saw two shadows hangin’ upside down in the window when I got back to bed. The mirror said it wasn’t me. I said, Holy Shit. Now, last time this happened, I ran for a knife and tried to cut it out. Blood was everywhere. God said, Stop that nonsense. But when I was a child I didn’t stop. I kept cuttin’ through because the body is so small and children don’t know what other ship to sail on.
But last night those upside down shadows hung there until I willed them away.
I said, I can’t sleep. God damnit I can’t sleep.
And they said, But we’re here to tell you somethin’.
I don’t wanna know. I said, I don’t wanna know.
Now, I wake up almost every mornin’ with a shadow pain curled up beside me, askin’ to be let out for a walk.
Grab your coat, I say.
This is what it’s like.
My horse dead on the side of a road and me, askin’ the field to open up and take me.
God, if I was lyin’ I wouldn’t feel half dead.
That’s what we’re doin, I said to someone the other day. Walkin’ around half dead with shadow pains attached to our foreheads like crowns.
What kingdom do we think we belong to? They asked.
I don’t know, I said. Not one where the auras speak, that’s for damn sure.