A humid claw clung to me
heavy like dark wool, the air all around pulsing with breath,
as if it wanted to leave,
and yet didn’t quite know how.
The parts of me that had done this a thousand times before, standing there next to the ones that were quiet and thirsty, not thinking they would ever know how.
Both protected and alone, we kept going, as if walking without a stick into the darkest woods.
At some point, if all went according to plan, we’d find the clearing where mossy green earth huddles near rooted trees,
the path ahead luminous and lit. Bare feet shuffling over the cool darkness,
solitude and loneliness sensations of the very same nightfall.
Skin on my hands reaching wide, noticing when the humid claw starts to lift, fingers free, no longer needing to grasp.