Andrew Helton: Traffic

Fall '13 TOC


We named her Traffic because she was always going somewhere and we never knew how long it would take her to get home and she was fast, man, was she fast: I remember how we used to visit my grandmother's house (that's my mother's mother) in the next town over and how we would take Traffic with us and she always wanted to run home, you could see it in her eyes the way the pupils would recede until it looked like there were no pupils at all inside those brown irises and the way she panted in the middle seat between my brother and me, it wasn't the same way she thirsted for water she was thirsting for something else it was in the way she exhaled and tucked a little murmur inside that breath as it passed over her tongue the kind of murmur, the kind of breath one makes when they suddenly realize something is at stake and as soon as we opened the car door she would greet everyone and be on her way it wasn't that she was rude she was just Traffic; we always knew somehow that she would make it even though we worried and we wondered how she knew but there she would be waiting for us in the driveway when we got home like magic, but it wasn't magic it was just Traffic and, man, was she fast when she was going somewhere and she was always going somewhere; the house was just her place to breathe and she would only come back to take a breath and know she still had a home to stop and breathe in.

She wouldn't stop and breathe for long before she was going somewhere again; I always imagined her black coat shining in the sun as she bounded over rocks and bushes, through cornfields with their leaves clapping against her nose, whiskers flared out capturing all there was to be sensed of the world until she bursts out the other side with the corn silk still woven into her fur, running across fields to find a creek to wade her warm paws in before beginning her long journey home so she could stop and take a breath and start all over again, knowing all the secrets and shortcuts that you can only know when you only stop to breathe once in a while, but Traffic bottlenecked over time and slowed, and slowed, and slowed until she wasn't bounding but ambling and she wasn't going but staying and all that was left for Traffic was her secrets and time to breathe.



Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
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