What I saw

This week, I saw an opossum, out back, in the very night, circling a small circle in gravel. Only once before have I seen an opossum. We called it a rabipelado. It was balanced on top of a rusty, chain-link fence in the yard where the mountain fell.

I also saw a woodchuck, standing in prairie dog style, not far from the pontoons on the river, beside a grey, leafless tree. It must’ve been  that I’d seen a woodchuck before because its departing waddle was familiar.

And I saw a small, black, curly-haired dog. It was something I’d never seen before, the way he laughed away from his owner, cresting the roof, running down, then off, like a buffalo over a cliff.

One long cry. One short.

The wave of the girl behind him receded then, a moment later, came pounding through the house. The hedge wouldn’t allow us to see anything except for the father’s hands above his head, a helpless gesture.

We stood as witnesses. Pook was on the curb and Betty and I were in the middle of the road.

Be okay, be okay, be okay, be okay, be okay, be okay, I said, keeping true to these words until I could no longer mouth them.

Then we walked away from knowledge, until the next day.

The mother was in the yard.

I said, “We saw what happened to your dog. Is he okay?”

She said, “Yes, he’s okay. Sore, but he’s okay.”

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