Today you're lucky, in love with your wife for the first time in weeks, both of you out for a walk in the overgrown park. No need to hold hands like that sadly animate couple you can see through a clearing on a parallel path. She lets go and turns from him. You notice how in their weather misery hangs faintly familiar in the cold shadows. As if having recently unlearned the habit of empathy, the sky over their forest seems to laugh at whatever they say, a woman turning from a man, their dog flexed on a heap of duff pretending to study the sparrows. Now the woman feigns confidence, stepping gracefully away. Two lives severed irrevocably. Such a capricious drug, the present. Look for instance at this woman's immediate future. Like yourself once, she will forget the names of old haunts, her voice a clever imposter, someone else filling her mouth, not with words, but vocables intending her own worth. Or right now: how all of these thoughts have occurred to you in a flash. When you look up, your wife's vanished. But really she's there, of course, off the path, among the ancient waist-high grasses, holding out to you a single mutable wildflower burning in its own ochre light. From here to that flower exist no guarantees. Best to get on with it.
From In the Evening of No Warning by Kevin Clark. Copyright © 2002 by Kevin Clark. Reprinted by permission of New Issues Press. All rights reserved.