He was tired, the gloss had gone off the day, but there was still the dog, pacing, appearing at his desk in indicting silence, with that chafing yet stoical stare—the dog drawing him on and out into day’s dimming aftermath, earth turning its face from the sun’s latest extinction as he and the dog plod, side by side, out of the city into cityless time—the reliquary forest still cached with ancestral smells, where the reviving man and would-be wolf (loping ahead, nose low, feverishly truffling the cedar duff) truly run now, as if hounding more than phobic voles, squirrels and the gone worlds hunkered in either mind, like the first hunter and wolf to run in squadron, before any farm or village, mill, metropolis or bylaw, all the sensible taming and setting-to-good-use, those leashes we’re linked to, our PIN-tinkling collars and other losses and gains. Yet for now all losses lag behind him and the dog with her panting grin, full gallop, his pulse pacing hard, fired up, keeping stride—deeper into stands of pine and the great, sky- rooted oaks, along fading, finally untakable trails, her tail—as he slows now, stumps in pursuit— almost lost, a hinge of smoke in the gloom, receding ahead into the past—
Steven Heighton’s most recent books are The Dead Are More Visible (stories) andWorkbook (a collection of memos and essays on creativity). His 1989 poetry collection Stalin’s Carnival was recently reissued in a revised edition by Palimpsest. He also writes fiction reviews for the New York Times Book Review.