A January Walk

It is January.

The cold air bites my face,

not a full, open-jawed bite;

tiny bites, like a fish nipping my legs while I swim,

small, sharp stings on my cheeks

my nose

my forehead.


Walk. A walk will lift your spirits.


The Christmas decorations have been taken down.

The trees have been discarded, thrown to the ground

at the edge of driveways, waiting to be picked up

by men who will throw them

into trucks and deliver them

someplace to be chopped into dust.


It is gray.

There is no snow.

Just a gray sky

and a dry earth

and trees

lifting their arms, begging,

beseeching, reaching their skeletal fingers

grasping for

            grasping for…


Move along. There is nothing for you to see here. Only houses.


There are only houses

and naked trees.

Houses —


one atop another

on small, ever so small, square, parcels of land.


How do people breathe? I wonder.

I cannot breathe.

Walking is supposed to help.


I watched my mother go mad.


When I was a little girl, my mother once said, “I want a house just like that.”

I knew it was death.

A death house.

I live in such a house. I bought it myself.


I realize death is a square.

A box.

A tomb

where you place yourself

and bury yourself alive.


Some people do not realize they are dying.

I am choking,

choking up the last bits of my womanhood.


Some people live in those boxes.

They are monsters.

They make noise and rattle the walls

and wake their neighbors.

They do not care.

It makes them feel strong.


I used to bring my dog with me, but she can no longer walk here.

She has been bitten too many times,

bitten by violent dogs,

sad creatures

kicked and broken by violent men.


I see those men, walking out of their square houses,

getting into their trucks-giant trucks

that make up for their small



It is quiet.

I don’t want to die here.


I see a black cat sitting atop a stone wall.

It is watching me.

I walk past.


Poor dear. I do not wish to bring her bad luck.

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