Wednesday, November 18, 2009

how well the dead weight warms

A grabby moisture's in the air, so we've got our slickened hoods closed around our faces. Rough burred grass is sticking out of the pockets Caleb's wearing; he collected the grass from the cliff he was scrambling up when he lost footing. His life rose then not like a quick slide show in his mind, but as a deep redness in his cheeks and a film of cuss words on his lips.

"You won't believe what I'm about to tell you, because I don't believe myself," is how he's explaining it to the rest of us, who are warming ourselves on weak fire and strong drink.

He goes on in a voice that keeps getting tackled by heaves about the missed markers, blisters rising and ripping on the opposite sides of each foot, the leaves so like butter.

He hung there such a long time, he said, the fibers in his shoulders began to come apart like paper wetted by rain.

The rescue was one as miraculous as improbable—leathery birds, netlike wings. He's not really sure of the details.

At night the baby will sleep all night under a prop of nylon, so deeply it will seemed stunned. Caleb will keep his feet under that baby's back. He'll stay awake, thinking how well the dead weight warms him.

No comments: