It’s hot out. Sweltering. I skip to the mailbox because the gravel flames under my bare feet. There is no reprieve from the blazing trap, no way to take off enough skin.
I drink cool water. I am inside. I am protected and I am never thirsty. Then there is the sun, furious and unforgiving, and the world is burning and the day drags and everything is an inferno.
I know it may not be normal, I know it may not be healthy, but all I can think about are the animals who are in it. Under it. Unable to shake it. The ones with cherry-red, raw paw pads. The ones panting, wanting, chewing on grass or rocks as they search for liquid. The ones looking in, looking at you, looking to rest in the solace of your shade. The ones stuck in cages, in factories, in mills, in cars, in fear, in shock. They whimper for the white light to take them for good. The end will be their great lover.
I don’t know where, but I know they’re there. I can’t see them as I sip iced tea from my blue cup, but I can feel them, I feel every one of them, as if the heat is a threat screaming, “See me.”
Or it’s raining. Pouring out. There is lighting and a flood warning and I stare out the window at diagonal wet lines. Jagged cuts across smooth glass.
I am cozy and dry. I am inside. I am playing board games. Then there is thunder and it starts coming down in slow motion and it’s relentlessness and everything is gray.
I know I may be naive, I know I may be obsessed, but all I can think about are the animals who are in it. Under it. Unable to shake it. The ones without shelter. The ones who are tied up, chained up, absolutely forgotten. The ones left behind in a muddy yard. The ones clumped together, wet and shivering, pressed against each other while they wait for the storm to pass. They wait for life to pass. The ones running fast on the soggy streets, in a hurry to nowhere. Nobody acts like they exist.
I don’t know where, but I know they’re there. I can’t see them as I towel off in my house, but I can feel them, I feel every one of them, as if each raindrop is a message whispering, “Help me.”
Or it’s winter. Snowing. I sit by a fire and thaw out my bones and tie a scarf around my neck and hold a mug of hot tea. The temperature drops and I breathe out angels.
I am surrounded by softness and soup. I am inside. I am safe. Then there is the wind, bloodthirsty and biting, and the three little pigs say my house might blow down and my face is whipped and everything is dead under the frost.
I know I may be helpless, I know I may be small, but all I can think of are the animals who are in it. Under it. Unable to shake it. The ones who can’t open their eyes because the cold seals things shut. The ones sinking in the slush and surrendering to it because what’s the point in fighting back. The ones crying next to a snowman. The ones frozen solid, buried alive, concealed and congealed. Maybe the blizzard swallows them and they become the tundra.
I don’t know where but I know they’re there. I can’t see them as I weep under my blankets, but I can feel them, I feel every one of them, as if the ice is a tribute begging, “Don’t forget me.”
p.s. Apparently there isn’t a single season that doesn’t give me lastima. Maybe I should try living on Jupiter.
p.p.s. We’re the ones who can say, “Please come in.”
(thanks to wheninspirationstrikesme.wordpress.com for this picture)