Authors note: I’ve always considered the line between prose and poetry to be arbitrary. Originally posted elsewhere in 2006.
It was one of those summer days, you know the kind, sorta muggy, like heavy flannel, but hot like a fire that’s roaring through the pine scrub. Sorta like, well, like God had sent you to a tropical jungle somewheres else and then forgotton to tell y’all about it. So sticky and damp that even the very air itself was on vacation and thems bugs, you know the kind, that had just evolved; I believe in evolution you know, leastways I think I do, I mean how else do you explain all the weird animals and stuff that live around here: it’s just that, well maybe God did invent all the world and the universe but then, maybe, everything sorta evolved from there? You think? Anyway, them bugs, the ones that had evolved just to bite you, and only you, well even thems got up and went back to bed. It was hot. Thing is, I liked the hot it seemed more natural somehow, out in the woods. It just seemed ok.
Anyway, there’s this creek down back, it runs thru the thicket of berry bushes, don’t you go calling it a patch, cause it ain’t, people start thinking about Brer Rabbit and stuff, silly anyhow, rabbit ain’t that smart, they just freeze up, likein they be thinking that if you can’t see em move then you’ll just go away, something else, ain’t it. Besides, bears loves berries, so I’ve read, haven’t ever seen no bear in the bushes, but maybe someday. So, this creek, well it’s kinda small, it ain’t no river that’s for sure, though it does get a whole lot bigger down the road a piece, still, I ain’t never explored down there, maybe someday. Well, it’s small, but it’s mine, it’s got tadpoles, and minnows and moss and watercress, you ever tasted watercress, it’s like tangy and sharp sorta of.
So what do I do down here? I like to dangle my feet in the cool water, laying back, watching the sun pour through the oak and maple and pine like a torrent of molten steel on its way to becoming a skyscraper. That has got to be the most amazing thing on this here green Earth, I mean, the Sun, 93 million miles away and hot and bright enough to burn the very flesh off your body but gentle enough to make the corn and the cotton grow up tall and proud like a youngun bringing home a report card chock full of A’s. You ever heard corn grow? Don’t you laugh at me, I heard it, one night; all calm and still, I heard it grow, sorta like syrup drizzling on a stack a grandmama’s griddle cakes, I heard it, the corn all whispering and rustling likein it was fixing to goin’a meeting. It was really moving. Sorta like being in church and listening to God’s voice telling you to be yourself cause that’s what She wanted from you. Why is church inside anyhow?
So there I was, laying back on the mud bank, looking up at the trees, I’s agot to wondering what’s it like to fly, you know, like a bird, but more, oh, I don’t know, more free than a bird; no bringing no food back to no squalling babies; no being chased by no dang hawks. There’s a hawk, over there, in that dead tree, he’s a big dude, he, leastways I think it’s a he. I don’t know, I never asked it, anyway, he flies over Mr. Wenzel’s farm and catches critters, like mice and stuff. Mice are kinda cute, all grey and whiskers not like moles. Our cats catch moles, won’t eat ’em though for nothing, justs drops ’em on the front stoop, liken they laid out in the grocers meat case.
“Pat,” that’s my mom calling, “those cats left more critters for you, take care of it right now!”
So I clean up, throw out, always this and that, anyway, when my feet are dangling in the water, I start to think, where does my creek go, when the tadpoles become frogs and the minnows become trout, do they go up or down, what’s over the hill and around the corner.