Always animals

There were always animals in the room with us when we were together. In as many ways as you are willing to consider. Feet beat paths wandering the back-ends of hallways, fake reading book spines and movie titles. That animal would curl up beside you. Dent your hip with the curvature of its back pressed against your skin. White like paper and soft like wine, shaped tapering down to used ankles and dirty feet up off the floor. If I could use this time machine in my head to walk where it only lets me look, I wouldn’t fake it. I would tell you this life is aquatic, and we walk winding paths through thick forested gumption just to settle at here and now, prisoners of don’t ask again. Like an intersection of roads. Just the two of us at a four way stop with at least two other animals in the room side-eyeing us. That was always the way it was. We were never alone together. The entire entanglement of a you and an I took place under sharp lemon eyes and wet nose wheezing and tails beating cups off the coffee table and plates to the floor. We thank little domesticated gods they were empty, while dogs curse them for the same reason. I was with you there, even if I wasn’t. The part of my heart I tore out and fed to those two black crows who guard my life knew where I was. It’s just that you are always more needed wherever you aren’t. Parked at the intersection of wanting to be wanted and just wanting you. To be there for and with you. Like the animals were. Even, even especially, when I wasn’t. If I could walk wherever I see, as if taking steps through memory, I would be back by your side. I’d clear the animals off the couch, and I would fake read blue eyes and a hesitant smile and knees folded feet lost into cushions. I would say sorry in the best of ways. Without a word.

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