i was out for a stroll with my dog. we were just making the usual rounds. the weather was hotter than usual, but that didn’t really make me pay any closer attention to where i was, what i was doing, and where i was going.
then, my dog started barking. she was a big boxer – scary looking, but harmless. she jumped back from where she had been sniffing. where were we right then? the park? we were in the park. my dog, she jumps back and barks and i pay attention.
i’m thinking about skunks and porcupines. i’ve had to be up in the dark scrubbing down my dog after a skunk sprayed her eyes. i’ve seen the porcupines at the edge of the city, like living punji sticks, and i’ve had nightmare visions where i’m endlessly plucking the barbs from my poor baby’s nose. i’m worried about skunks and porcupines. i’m not thinking about feet.
two feet, naked and ending at the ankle in a clipped bone and skin that twisted up to the white tip, like something out of a zombie movie, are moving as if someone’s attached to them and walking. They step out of the grass. They walk down the street.
i can’t believe i’m telling you this story. i never told anyone about the two feet. but i saw them, and my dog saw them. and it was a hot day, but it wasn’t hot enough to drive us both insane. and this is old caddo country. caddo indians used to live here, and they got smallpox and died like a zombie movie.
that’s what it was like for them. they got this horrible disease and it killed everybody. then these people with white skin like corpses walked over the hills from the lands below the earth riding horses and shooting guns, and rounding everybody up that wasn’t one of the zombies to kill them.
and the barefeet walked down the road, and they were brown like indian feet, and maybe this is still indian land, and they’re coming from the other side.
my dog and i still walk there, and i always know where i am, where i am going, and what i am doing.
i’ve seen hands floating in the dark, i think. i’ve seen long, black hair. i’ve found roadkill with speartips.
be careful out there, friend. this city won’t last forever.