you know it was deep
when the sound of a bull frog reminds you
a certain shade of grey in the clouds sparks a feeling
the current dew point bringing a familiar sensation from the past

you know the imprint was made cellular
this time last spring
if nature holds the key to unlock memories
surprising you in a bird song

there was that giant tent you erected streamside
heaped inside with pillows and so many blankets that he got hot
how the sound of pig hooves could be heard
running hard on soft soil in darkness
just beside you both
only thin tent fabric between you and he
and the grunt of a mama with her baby

when the campings over
and he’s ready for the plane
you step into the utility closet
and sob into a towel
but the crying is so loud
you know he heard you anyway

he leaves  clothes for ‘next time’
but your heart knows he won’t be back
there’s wildness in paradise
it takes work to live and love here
return flights are reserved for tourists
bringing home snapshots and a new sarong

back home for you is an empty tent down by the water
you see the ants are moving in
funny how he didn’t help dismantle it
as you pull thick tent stakes
and wrestle collapsing arms back to compact
trying to fit its greatness into a small zip up bag

you clear all the tarps and bungees
walk away
from the big brown square
of deadened, flattened grass
a tangible tell-tale
that he really had been there
and now is all
but gone

you know the grass will grow back quickly
last traces will disappear
except for the low baritone of bullfrog
in the rushes
steady still
this year

photo by Jessica Dofflemyer - all rights reserved



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