Monday, September 27, 2010

"Walking in October" by Catherine A.G. Bayly (2007)

The wind hurts as it slices at my skin. It is quintessential October--the sky and earth scream that Autumn is here. I am walking with Eleanor, and my legs are red and rough where the skin is exposed just above the knee. Leaves whip and slash across our faces, and the air smells of things burning. Each leaf and gust that angrily paints my face with Fall strikes bone. My body remembers. This is a time of loneliness, aching arms, phantom stirrings. A time when the early-falling night brings fear and sadness deep as dark stretches of space. I feel the pain of fresh birth in my womb. The body remembers being without. The muscles remember, the shoulders, the jaw, the upper legs, the vocal chords, the clenched fists. The eyes remember crying, and the mouth crying out. When the wind blankets, the body shudders with remembrance.

I look up at the sky and try to see her in the sharp contrast between reddening leaves and sapphire pearlescence. I look left and right when I drive, looking for a small ocean-eyed girl in the woods or on the highway, standing shivering and alone without me. My heart longs for her. I look at the clear unblinking blue of Eleanor's own eyes, and I touch her apricot skin. Her smile breaks my heart so cleanly. And, again, my body twists into the the tree-flinging wind memories, protecting us.

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