Monday, March 21, 2011

Dancing with sticks

He pauses on the threshold. The door thrown wide before him, his black shape perched like an eagle ready to dive from a cliff, wings spread wide to tame wild air currents. Fresh snow lies before him, a carpet of white unfurled from between roughened trunks and beneath a canopy of skeletal arms and fingers until it stops abruptly in a perfect line at the front door.

A shiver runs the length of his body, not from the cold but in anticipation of a world not more than a step away.

“Okay!” and he’s bounding out the door, footprints pressed into untarnished white, snow scattered like confetti under the flip-flap of rubber limbs. He leaps, a blur of black in a newly white world, then slides to a stop, his nose buried beneath a long shape in the snow. A flick and twist and the stick is unearthed. But it is a tree branch, longer than his body, thicker than my arm. The ends are splintered and worn down by gnawing teeth, its length caked in snow, or more likely frozen slobber from yesterday and the day before.

He scoops it up in his mouth, tosses it over his back, flips it behind him then rams into it with his head.

This tree branch that I can only throw as if tossing a caber, becomes a toothpick in his jaws.

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