Barbara Black and Tracey Riehl

Tracey Riehl
“Forest Waterfall”
Inspiration piece

Think of How He Moves
By Barbara Black

NO, IT WAS YOU awash in a violet light, was what he had said, the white of the moon in the corners of his mouth. On the trail the next day, she was the first to have seen the opening, but she hesitated. He was the “adventurer,” but adventure was really his way of altering a world he didn’t like. The first sign that it was an error was when he stepped in front of her and his bulk seemed to grow. She was now hidden in his shadow, become like any other tree in the woods starved of light. At that moment her skin thickened and deep corrugated furrows appeared on her palms. She felt her feet grip the earth, clenching stones. The moss, the ferns, the red cedar fronds suddenly seemed like a very slow form of devotion. All that could be known would now be locked in soil and cells. Her thoughts were to be sand, humus, and the fertile deaths of tiny creatures. She thought she said to him “Don’t go,” but her breath came out powdery and yellow. “Was it,” she had said the night before, “someone else you had wanted in the crowd?” Somehow she had always got things wrong. He stood with his back to her, under lichen hanging like silvery skins. She thought he spoke, but his voice was a river surging through a storm channel. He stepped into the opening, into the curtain of water, exchanging one element for another. The man who had answered “No, it was you awash in a violet light,” had reclaimed his right to walk toward a pulse she was unable to hear, in his mouth a thousand suns, in hers a core of cambium.


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