The Wolfhound

I’d a dream we traveled out to a local fall event and my eye was immediately drawn to a peculiar petting zoo. There was an average woman in distinct employee garb and to her left was a male lion. Mane swaying in the breeze, deep orange and tan fur only a foot or so away from the edge. You kept trying to reach your fingers across the fence to pet him as I looked into his eyes,

Odd. They would never put a lion in a cattle pen.

It wasn’t long before the woman noticed us, arms stretched out across the fence. She lassoed him, gently so, but it still broke my gaze. She shook her head in warning and let an assortment of sheep out next. It was clear what she deemed her property.

‘Sorry about that, it’s dangerous to pet the lion. Rescues and all.’

You started up a careless conversation, loud voice boisterously ringing in my ears. I felt sour, so I ignored her as a whole. She seemed to take to your conversation, but I drifted back off towards the building they’d walked him into. So slow, so languid, so tamed was his walk. Like a drunken misery, or a stumble into sedation. His composure seemed empty, as if there was no roar brewing in his belly anymore.

I almost turned around and walked the other way, off to find a drink or something to ease the familiar aching that was developing in my brain. Then out came the wolfhound.

He followed her shadow to the fence lining but no one seemed to pay any mind to him.
Deep shoulders stalking forward, head leaning down and bright yellow eyes glancing up. You two were busy conversing about the seasonal events and where the best location to get a good bite to eat was.

He had a tortoiseshell coating, deep black mingling with ebony and hints of auburn. It reminded me of the withered maple leaves or caramel.

He came to my post by the fence and sat down slowly. I looked towards the both of you to see if the attendant was paying any attention, she was not. I stuck my hand through the opening and got a good grasp of his fur. Wiry, lengthy and wild, but smooth. He did not draw back from my touch.

At first I merely gave him a nuzzle behind the ears, but those brooding eyes kept locking onto mine. I’d really no choice. I crouched down, he rolled onto his back almost instantaneously. He kept his gaze locked on mine, large paws encircled around my forearm. I couldn’t decipher what it was he wanted.

You were sitting at a table, watching a rather boring show that gathered the crowds of humanity like the sheep in the pen, while I was weaving through the herds on the outskirts of dusk with the wolfhound cradled in my arms.

He was heavy, but not heavy enough for me to lag. I remember my grip was like iron. I wasn’t going to let anyone else touch him. I wasn’t even sure of where I was taking him, all I knew is I couldn’t let him go. Not now, at least.

I don’t remember feeling panicked, as most would, but I couldn’t remember my purpose for being in this predicament. Nor where I was or how I’d ended here. I knew they’d either think I stole him, which I wasn’t entirely sure if I had or just planned to. Or they’d thank me for finding him after he ran off towards whatever it was he’d chased.

I kept trying to mull through my options. I could take him home with me, I could save him from this brutish lifestyle. But what if he belonged with the sheep? Someone had to herd them, right? His eyes were like looking into the moon, and it was getting darker by the minute.

I’d find a way to spin it either way but I settled on finding you, first.

I never found our purpose, me and the wolfhound, but I assume that was half of the point. Perhaps it was just to get out of the confines of the fence. Perhaps he saw another of his kind and no longer wanted to herd the sheep. Perhaps I didn’t, either.

He’d followed me.

That’s what had happened. I was certain now, the recollection clear as the path before me. He’d followed me and I’d turned around and felt a shiver hit my spine.

He never wriggled or writhed from my grasp. He laid still as baggage, the longer I held on, the easier he was to carry. Passerby’s would smile and gawk, they were faceless to me but I could hear the fluctuations in their tones, and I’d smile back but I wouldn’t meet their eyes. I wouldn’t decipher their features. This trek would stop for nothing and no one.

It wasn’t long before I rounded the corner to the fence line. The array of familiar tables sprawled out, the crowd had dwindled but the show had continued on in repeat.

Two more steps was all it took, to round the corner, my sight now visible beyond the trees masking the seat you’d chosen in the far back corner.

You were gone.

I set him down within the confines of the fence and told myself it was only momentarily, and he stood stark still, watching me with hooded recollection.

I called you, I believe, or perhaps I only heard the long, lost echo of your voice. I’d assumed to hear a bit of concern, or perhaps just confusion.

‘I went home,’ you muttered on the static end of the realm.

‘You didn’t bother to look for me?’

‘Why would I? You’re always wandering off.’

‘It was the hound. He followed me, I couldn’t just leave him out there.’

I’d no idea why I was trying to validate the chain of events to you, but perhaps I was just trying to make sense of the whole ordeal myself.

The line went silent for a moment.

Hello?

‘_______, what are you talking about?’

‘The hound! For god’s sake the hound, the giant looming guy in the cattle pen? With the sheep? You didn’t see him?’

‘No… There was never a hound.’

I looked back towards the fence, a breath of night chill whistled through a now empty terrain. I peered into the darkness but there was no sight of the moon, nor the hound.

I stood there for a while, in the stark night, and I think I knew in that moment why wolves howl.

– B.

Black Blood

You let the ink drip onto
the page like a nosebleed
cascading down your chin
or a needle tapped into the
soft spot of your forearm. 

A bit of bloodletting to rid
of the tar building up in
your veins or the memory
darkening to cancer in 
the depths of your brain. 

Your readers are like leeches,
you won’t feel the sting of soft 
rings, where the teeth sink into 
the flesh of your vulnerability;
but you’ll know you contributed 
to filling the belly of a void when 
the relief of your own passes 
by like a dawn of new age.  

– B. 

Necessity vs. Want

Necessity, necessity. There are a lot of things in this apartment. I remember a time when they were a means of battle, a way to show success. The mere thought of it always made me depressed but it wasn’t about what I wanted it was about what I needed. 

The issue is I was never really listening to my needs. It was always someone else’s. Or at least trying to impress someone else. That doesn’t matter now, I’m free. My wings are growing back in so why is this so hard to decipher?

I look around a porch filled with stuff that really is unneeded, if you think deeply enough on it. But what is the difference between need and want? It probably lies in perception, right? What is my perception? That is the key right now, that is my salvation. 

I want more shoes but I’ve already three pairs of boots, one pair of tennis shoes and two pairs of heels. Why do I want more shoes? Is it because I want more clothes and therefore an excuse to match them up? For what reason? To impress people? I hate people. 

I’ve eight routine outfits I typically go through, all which can be mixed and intermingled with one another. That is a week and a half worth of work clothes. The rest is a plethora of pants, hoodies and t-shirts I wear on the regular. I’ve tons of those to get through countless weekends and a few, very rare, nights out. Sometimes it still feels like too much but that’s why there are bags of them lining my closet, I’m just too antisocial to leave the house long enough to take them to the thrift shop. 

Six to eight dresses at a time, which only three are every routinely worn. 

Food is a necessity, food is a good one. I’ve mastered that, besides of course the alcohol, but something has got to soothe my mind enough to let me get through a thought from beginning to end. I jump around a lot. Not easily distracted just easily stimulated. 

Perpetuating, languid, tired. 

So those are two things that I deem as necessities – clothing, in a limited but progressive quantity and food. Raw foods, whole foods, vegetables – no meat. Not in the way we currently… harvest

What else? My car? More of a luxury but I take good care of it and have no desire to trade it in for a newer model. That proves something right?

No, I’ve nothing to prove. It’s an unfortunate necessity though in our current society. I want a horse. I used to ask that question all the time as a teen, why don’t we still ride horses? Not for sport, not with all of the unnecessary and painful equipment. More for the bond and progression towards a common goal. Equality, in a sense. Less waste, less gasoline. We hide our devastation through the excuse of progression. We are wasteful and sick. 

I’d take care of my horse. I’d feel less alone with one. I can talk to my car but I can’t look into it’s eyes and feel something 

Alcohol is not a necessity but at the same time it is. Like I said, clear train of thought, slows things down. Makes them easier to pick apart and comprehend. That’s the difference between limiting drunkenness and sedation for pain. No better than taking any of the medications we’re regularly prescribed. Trust no one, especially not your doctor. 

So food, clothes, car, alcohol (personally) what else? Ah, of course, shelter. A home, preferably. But that is more of a comfort than a necessity, right? And again, what we deem as a home lies in perception. Though having something to shelter you from the rain and snow is good, too, I suppose. 

I’ve been without it before and I was just fine. It’s where the heart is but mine is dead. 

I wasn’t fine but I survived without it. God, we don’t really need any of this stuff, do we? All of our necessity has only become a way to make it easier. We’re lying to ourselves. We’re selfish, we’re weak. Put us all out in the wilderness for six days and the majority of us would die or need therapy afterwards. That’s pathetic, that’s pitiful, and we’re doing it to our animals, too. Our, our. Possessive. They’re not ours but we’ve made it that way. We’re disgusting. We’re dumbing everything down. 

I pull a hand through my hair. 

Necessity, necessity. 

Versus want. 

What do I want? Why am I thinking so much on this? Do I need it to be simplified? Do I need a reason for why I hate everything and at the same time simultaneously want to protect what and whom I deem as good. 

How do I even know if my perception is right? And why do people tend to lean towards that, anyways? What do they see in me? 

Is it necessity or want? Or have we completely lost the basis of either in the first place?

– B. 

Dragons

“You better be careful up there. I don’t think your mom would like this very much.”
“So long as we don’t track any mud in the house, trust me, she doesn’t care.”

My company fell silent and that was somewhat relieving for my concentration. One arm was wrapped firmly (albeit a little humorously) around the base of what I deemed a dependable branch. It was a strangled effort, gangly limbs attempting to counter the sturdiness of a great oak. The oak that stood the tallest in our yard. The same one that also happened to hover two feet away from the roof.

I pondered for a moment on which part of it could be considered the bone. Kids at school were always breaking bones, they said it hurt a lot. They talked about it as if it were bad, while I merely pondered on the prospect. I fell off of things a lot but I never broke anything. I did, however, go through a short period of obsession over my envy of casts. How everyone asked your story, asked to sign it.

I loosened my grip and for a single moment I heard my mother in the back of my head, ‘she’s cruel’. Was I hurting it? How would I know? Would it throw me off like one of those apple trees in the Wizard of Oz? That is not the first impression I wanted to make on it. Why was I always being so rough? So full of pent up fire?

I stared in silence at one knot in the trunk specifically. There were no eyes peaking out from the bark or branches twisting into a fist, but it sure did look like there could be.

“This is boring. How am I even supposed to get up there?”
The side of my lip curved down.

Whiny. Distracting.

“Uh, I don’t know, maybe by climbing?” I spat back, blonde locks drifting out from the leaves for a moment to shoot a disapproving scowl. The venom seeped a little deeper than usual, and I didn’t like the prospect of why.

She’s small, she’s never going to grow into a full size violin. You can’t play the cello, your arms aren’t long enough. We don’t want her on our team – she’s short and weak. You think she’s going to be able to change a tire? She’s quiet and secluded. She’s difficult. She’s not much of a lady.

“This is how it would be, ______. If we flew on dragons.” I envisioned their scales, the heat of their breathe on my hands. I’d murmur sweet nothings to them and they would coo back that I was their queen. They understood. “I’ll let you in from the window once I get up there, I promise.” It was so hushed I hardly recognized it as my own voice. I expected a ‘what’ to come shooting up through the branches, but she only smiled back.

“Wow! That sounds so fun! How do you always think of this stuff? What would you name yours? I’d name mine Coco.”

I would let mine name itself.

“Not if you had made the right friends…” I trailed off somewhere high in the atmosphere, the sight of slate coming clearer into focus. I spoke on the matter as if I’d any real experience in it, or if I’d even listened to what I was saying in the first place.

How do you always come up with these ideas? How could you not?

“What did you say?” I had to take a second glance to ensure it wasn’t only in my head this time around. Sure enough, there she was. Mouth gawking open mid-speech, a daisy twisting beneath her nose, determining whether or not she liked butter.

“Don’t worry. I’m almost up there, I can see you. Once I get to the top I’ll let you in through the bathroom window.”
Wait. If we could’ve just gone out the window, why didn’t we do that in the first place?”

Because dragons do not use windows, they fly.

– B.

Goodnight

Do you think that everyone in a sense feels lonely at the end of the day? No matter their current situation or background.

I do. I believe there’s a small percentage who are not cognizant of the fact, but I believe on the brink of every dusk we all feel it brooding (even if only a little) on our shoulders. 

Because no one will ever truly know what’s going on in your head besides you. They can get close, but we all sleep and dream behind the curtain of our own eyes. Asking someone to know you that intimately is asking the impossible. 

There’s irony in the story, though. If we’re all truly lonely at the end of the day, then I suppose that means none of us are ever really alone. 

BIATA

The Moon

It feels so addicting when
the heat drifts down your spine,
soft fingers woven in your hair. 

A low gasp tears through a
hollow setting, the darkness
disguising 
every bruise, 
every inconsistency. 

If it’s done right it’s enough to 
send your senses ablaze,
all else
momentarily forgotten. 

But morning always comes, love,
and the moon doesn’t linger at
dawn. 

B.

To be a Writer

To be a writer feels how liquor
tastes. 
Smooth yet perpetually coated,
tongue lined in blasphemy, 
an outspoken existence
beneath the trembling
of a page. 

To be a true writer is something
akin to insensible inebriation. 
You’ve got to be the one willing 
to write down all the things 
everyone else was too 
afraid to say. 
Even you. 

BIATA