3 tagged with #znk

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to the earth

(mentions animal death)

we walked through the quiet cove, middle-aged hemlocks locking overhead in a canopy that keeps us cool. a sight ahead stops us short; a shiny, ropey black line draped across the crook of a tree forked near the ground.

"black ratsnake," i said. a rattler would have asked us to go away by now. it wasn't moving, and i couldn't see the head from the trail, so i cautiously circled around to the other side of the tree. its eyes were hard to see, under the cloud of flies looking for a soft spot in the scales to reach the flesh.

"snake ran out of snake. it's dead for sure."

and i thought, how peaceful it must be, to know that you are out of snake, drape yourself over a log, and slowly give your body back to the forest.

later, a garter snake barely flinched when i walked past it; i bent down and looked at its healthy, full body, dark scales that gave off a rainbow sheen. it curled into a question mark, resting its chin on its body to face me.

the world is full of things.

08 June 2018 00:14


young rabbits scatter into the alleyway, not knowing which way to escape. the garden wall only gets taller, so they keep sprinting downhill.

motorcycling in cargo shorts, hiking boots, and a flannel top. the moon watches me tuck it away in the garage. i tell myself it's fine to put the cover on because i only rode half a mile and none of the parts are warm yet. "thank you," i whisper to the bike, running a hand over the cowl to check for dust. "i'll come back for you."

the door creaks conspicuously as it unravels, thudding into the concrete in front of my feet.


my thoughts are flat, stretched thin and taut across the surface of the earth. i breathe knowingly; the back of my chest rubs against my shirt. you will not always feel like this.


i ascended the cathedral twice today. why aren't you always training? i ask myself. i ask myself every day. no one takes the stairs beyond the eleventh floor. the elevators are alien; students pack in shoulder to shoulder and most of them ignore me.

"i love your hair!" one of them shouts from the back. i pull an earphone out and raise an eyebrow. she means me, right? they always mean me these days. people i can't recognize will recognize me and say hi. i always smile and ask them what's up. sometimes i make them feel awkward, and i'm not sure if i mean it.

"thanks," i reply. once, someone said to me, 'just thank them and accept the compliment and move on,' when i was struggling to justify not getting complimented.


last week, i checked my snake hut. it was still there. i added grapevine. it will probably stay there. someday, it won't be there anymore, and i'm okay with that.

15 September 2016 22:15

Samson; letting go

originally emailed on 27 September 2012

Dear friends,

You're getting this email because you've either been a part of Samson's life at some point, or have had to put up with me babbling about him all the time.

This past July, I left town for a few weeks. Somehow, Samson in all his stupidity managed to escape from his tank while I wasn't looking, despite having not even shown any interest in trying, and certainly not seeming capable of doing so, for almost four years. The tank was still secured when I got home. My best explanation is that he learned to teleport.

I've been tearing the house to pieces on a regular basis since then, but it's an old Pittsburgh duplex with lots of holes in the walls and plenty of delicious vermin scampering about. There hasn't been a sign of him at all, and I've finally decided it's not really worth the heartache to keep searching the same spots over and over; some of you have seen my current place, and can imagine that a thorough shakedown doesn't take very long, and that fifty thorough shakedowns gets a little disheartening.

It's actually plausible that he's curled up under the floorboards where I'm sitting right now, happily digesting some of the mice that have been eyeing my trash can. The past few nights here have been pretty cold, but I'm sure there are warm pockets in the house. Or maybe he's hitchhiked to Kansas. In any event, I have no idea where he is, and I have no idea if I'll ever know where he is. I'm sure it's a pretty great, mind-blowing adventure for him!

Last weekend marked his approximate fourth birthday; next month will mark four years since I brought him home. I just packed up his tank and everything that goes with it; it's stashed in my basement on the off chance Murphy's Law comes through and I trip over him as soon as I fire off this email.

Thanks to you guys for helping me take care of him, teaching him about how humans are pretty okay things, checking in your boots and luggage in case he was trying to stow away, and dealing with me being kind of out of it for the past couple of months. If he turns up, you'll certainly hear my cries of joy, possibly before I even get to sending an email about it, but otherwise, I am considering him indefinitely MIA.

10 October 2013 23:44

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