Humite by Linda Wojtowick

Things are changing perhaps. His dreams are that he is a dog, running. He runs all over. He covers the land from the gulf to the larger sea. Though his feet register the spiky roots of bog trees and spines of desert rocks, they are numb, unaffected sensations. He tries panting, just to see. When he slows, his gallop thickening as if in sap, he steps down a little trail laid with planks, buttery-smooth suddenly under his paws. He goes to the swamp edge, finds his friend in the reeds. As usual it is submerged to the eyes. It’s a terrifying creature, green and pink and quick, but he knows it well and pays no mind to the carnage, the ripped sick piles he passes on the descent from the higher road, and that lies all around him smearing the stinking shore. In the dreams he can’t smell it and is calm. He asks his friend about the fading day. When he wakes he sees the oxygen tank by the bureau. Lately his chest holds but he fears that soon, again, he will have to keep it with him more, haul it on his walks by the rec center, over clay paths by the duck pond. There are others here, he supposes, that manage it with grace. Edna and Tom still walk tall and wheel their cylinders like business luggage through the carpeted halls. But he always feels like an artifact from space, not sleek or new but old, as if with hairspray, with silver sleeves. He loves going out in the orange sherbet of late afternoon. He drives lit by syruping light through the slower towns. Florida vines lacing the roads. Thick water, swelling roots. Grapefruit sun sinking dumbly toward the boats. On the way home he stops at a grocery store by the diving shop. The chain has a vulgar name and a gapemouth cartoon fish on the sign. But he goes there anyway for the produce which is of dependable quality. And bears the lowest price.

Linda Wojtowick grew up in Montana. She now lives and works in Portland, Oregon where she indulges her cinematic obsessions without restraint. Her wordstuffs have most recently appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, Off the Coast, The Prompt, and Clementine Poetry Journal.