October 6th, 2009



Quickening her step, the grad student hurries from under red oak darkness to mercury vapor light, but
The whispers don't recede.
Her shadows crawl under her shoes, but
The faces don't dissolve.
She clenches her fists on her purse string, her key ring.
She closes her eyes, hoping that when she opens them

Both Jimmie's and her shoes were already soaked, so they took them off and waded through the creek barefoot.
Green on rocks, toes slide over - cool water to her ankles, under the cuffs and up her calves.
Jimmie was so serious, looking for the fossil he'd seen the day before.
She didn't care as long as he took her with him.
He spoke - frustrated - the roots covered the part of the bank where he'd seen it.
She laughed as her foot slipped off of the higher bed, but there was sand to catch it.
Her jeans wet to her knees, the coolness crawling in between them.
A yelp that startled her - Jimmie thrashing, then still - he'd found it.
She waded closer, deeper, to see.
Jimmie - without moving aside - pointed to a large, dull stone jutting from the bank
In the shadow of the tree's roots.
The roots under the water brushed her now soaked waist, but
Jimmie's smile was too bright for them to follow the cool water in.
He turned and began tearing at the brown earth now two feet below the grass.
She hadn't time to see what the stone was before he got in the way.
She pulled away from the roots, a hand strangely lifting from the water
To wet the back of Jimmie's Ocean Pacific shirt.
Oblivious, he scratched and pulled, his arms stronger than they looked in school.
She caressed his warmth, his backbone, his muscles moving under his shoulders.
Jimmie fell back with a yelp as different from the first as
His open mouth was from his smile.
The stone, pieces of earth still clinging, hit the water at the same time
Jimmie's body pushed her hand aside and
Slid beneath the wave it made.
For a breathless moment, she saw Jimmie's eyes wide,
Moving in ways only water moved, but
They were too bright.
When she opened her own, below the water, still wavering from the disturbed surface,
A large stone sat on the sandy bottom.
Although she could see between the shadows of the roots that he had found what must have been the largest snail which had ever lived,
Jimmie was gone.
In all the places within her where his warmth had touched, the cool water flowed.

at least one of the faces would be his.
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