I Ain't No Bald Cypress
Originally published in Tiny Seed Literary Journal (March 2019)
A skinny face and skinny neck. Two old boots at the foot of his bed. Leather soles worn skinny too. Quiet in his room. A car driving the highway across the pasture sounds like someone breathing next to him. A restful sleep with deep, complacent breaths. A contented feeling foreign to his skinny heart. Old boots on his feet now. Again. Pointed toe-box muddy from standing at the shore of this swamp. Murky, black water like an oil slick. A stand of bald cypress rooted in the muck. Shiny surface of the pond like a mirror makes the trees look as deep as they are tall. Their trunks just above the water’s surface look stretched. The way skin looks when pulled too far from the bone. A breeze barely felt makes the black pond try lapping at his feet the way someone curls their finger when they want you closer. But he steps back so it can’t. With that muddy, pointed toe-box he kicks a pinecone nearby. Ripples on the pond’s surface now bend the reflections of the bald cypress stand. When the ripples dissipate and the reflections return, he says, audible only to this swamp, “I knew you weren’t that deep.”
Getting sunny now, the early morning chill starting to move off. Making way for afternoon. The quiet room still quiet. The bed unmade. Old, skinny-soled boots gone now. A car drives the highway across the pasture.