THE HOLLOW - Prologuethe H O L L O WPROLOGUE"THERE’S A MONSTER LOOSE IN THESE WOODS. That's what they say.”The old white wolf puffed, her breath a stain upon the still air. Her crippled frame suggested death could claim her at any hour. That she still lived was a marvel. “He walks in the solemn whisper of night, when the clouds turn the sky sightless, and when the moon softens. If you stop, you can hear the ice crack at his coming, the birds' flight at his gait, and the woodland animals' recoil at his breath. The forest wilts with his every step. The bracken curls, then dies. Life erodes as death harbors within him.”Her guest, a wolf much younger than she, listened intently, black-rimmed ears quipped. Solemn, honey eyes pooled as the darkness engulfed the alcove in which they conversed. She shivered as she tried to imagine the beast.“A charming grin once resided on his face, by legend luring all ladies to his company.” She winked her old crusty eye, though sh
the lion's tooth grave of pragueThe sidewalk is dyed green againwith dandelion blood:white wispy limbs litter the cobblestonealongside the scars of bony stems.I am not a witness,only a passerby. I standin awe but not in sorrowof the departed dandelions,their souls crushed under street mower hell.I pull a survivor from the grassand breathe to strip it of its fleshso that its wish is granted:to not be left alone.
advice on loving a wolf treedon’t look at methe way you look at the wolf tree:roots abound, wild and astray,my base unlike, dissimilar—too wide.my crown charred, snapped,broken like my mind.yes, i once grew up in a open spaceonly to suffocate those who came after me.so i am unrulybut please don’t tryto saw my branches,don’t make me fit inyour enclosed embrace.don’t look at methe way you would at something broken,through a castle of ivy,behind the shadow of a rock wall.you should try to stop looking through cracks:lower down your guardto see me,not to fix mebut to love me—the wolf tree.
no longer localGlasses clanked. The fridge kept opening. We were unapologetic in our close-knit camaraderie, all united by ink, a degree for some, and loose connections for others. We all knew where the other came from, though I fringed on the outside. I was starting to fade. But that was okay.People were loud and hard to hear as they caught up on the time lost among them. Faces were melting in the stuffiness, the masses of bodies all confined to one living room. I watched as people came and went in the first few minutes. Some faces I had never seen. For others, it had been “awhile.” I didn’t mind. We all knew each other.I let the drink pour, shifting my weight a little. I sat, exhausted by my drive, and already overstimulated. I thought about going back to the car to breathe. The music numbed my ears. Their voices battered me. I grew stiff. In the heat, I watched them.“Can we go outside?” the melting faces kept asking. Guests adjusted their shirts and removed unneces
the final paradebodies march underthe parade of umbrellas,all multihued sunsin a gray landof faded asphaltand ancient brick.the students’ feet crushfallen sorrel leavesover and over,the trodden pathnow a mortar and pestlefor classes— and dreams.an acorn breakssomeone’s thoughts,a concept for a paper is lost.they stopand the rain waits for them.but wren rings on.