by Bram Johnson

On those long summer days back when you were young you ran wild in the woods gave into the creature hidden inside you by countless centuries.         You gave over your body         let the creature         take you places         learned the languages         of trees and streams         discovered ancient trails         and became wild         like your family         had forgotten         how to be. And each morning you woke in your own bed as scared as a cornered animal locked in someone's shed never at ease until you return to the woods, free again.         As the years passed,         though,         and pieces         were tamed out of you,         your senses became dull         and your limbs sluggish         and finally,         when you couldn't         keep up         anymore         your creature stopped         at the edge         of the trees         and gazed back         at you         confused,         looking for the child         that used to wear         your skin,         and then it turned         and disappeared         into the woods         forever. Soon the years would pass and the languages you learned would slip away and you would never find those trails again. Eventually you would even rise calmly, comfortably from your own bed, get dressed, examine your aging face in the mirror and wonder what it was about a pair of eyes staring sadly from the shadows of the woods where you used to go.