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2959

I

I am suffocating.

The stairwell is heated

by dozens of bodies,

climbing up,

like salmon,

searching for the light.

I emerge from the underworld,

sucking stale air

into my lungs.

Beads of salt water scatter

and evaporate,

while others form rivulets

from hairline to chin.

 

I have traveled miles

to be among my people.

I scan the streets

to find my place

in the taxonomy:

Kingdom.

Phylum.

Class.

Order.

Family.

But there is only nothingness and chaos.

I walk many miles before I surrender.

I have strayed.

 

II

My limbs ache

as I climb slowly uphill.

It is only another quarter-mile,

or perhaps a half,

to the patch of grass

where an old dog waits

beside the porch steps.

Her limbs ache from sitting still.

She barks once.

It is a greeting,

I think,

or a warning to the pack.

I have arrived.

 

I lean against the old dog,

listening to the beating of her heart

and the rustling of leaves,

until sleep overtakes me.

I dream the stars are angels

creating order in the universe.

I hear them singing:

Kingdom.

Phylum.

Class.

Order.

Family.

I have returned.

 

 

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