When and How

By Anna Claire Beasley

November 26, 2018

When and How

1) A tent flap
When the zipper teeth cut the air, filling the tent, humid from a night of bodies letting out breath after breath.

2) A skipping rock
How it fits in the belly of your palm, smooth. How you run your thumb over its back, stroking it, before giving it a slight bounce, checking its weight against the curve of your arm and the width of the river.

3) Hands
When they’re my grandmother’s—crisped by hours under the Mexican sun. A childhood spent whipped by Chihuahuan desert winds, shaping her body, carving canyons across her skin.

4) A water bottle
How, each alpine morning, you bring it to your dry lips and every gulp pierces throat and lungs, like crisp mountain air.

5) Boots
When they’re covered in red dirt from a weekend in the canyon. How the front right toe is scuffed from the time you tripped and nearly fell.

6) An armadillo
How they remind me of my home in the Texas Hill Country. Of time spent receding into a shell until I learned to stand on my own, the way the armadillo stretches its body and stands on its hind legs.

7) A canoe paddle
When it splits open the skin of the river with a sound somewhere between a dog lapping from its bowl and windchimes tinkling on your neighbor’s porch. How, when used properly, it leaves the river as quietly and unnoticed as a Cottonmouth sliding up the bank.

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