The dogs arrived first, and then the children, chasing the dogs. At the edge of the clearing, the dogs stopped, bristling, looking as if they would like to growl but weren’t sure if it would be wise. They tensed and sniffed the ground carefully, moving forward only after they had thoroughly scented each foot of ground. The children stared. It wasn’t the behavior of the dogs that caught their attention so much as the appearance of the clearing, where a hundred square feet of vegetation had been as thoroughly flattened as if a house had fallen on it and then been lifted cleanly away by a crane. They knew what the dogs were scenting, though. It smelled like a dozen unwashed men had slept here for a week, eating garlic and peeing copiously. The air was thick and warm, faintly steaming in the chilly fall air, as if these men had only just disappeared—maybe were planning on coming back and reasserting their rights to this place.
windfall apples the end of their appetite
The children called off the dogs and ran, fast, back to the trail they had wandered off and then back to their parents in the wilderness campsite they were inhabiting for the weekend. Nothing could have induced them to tell their parents that they were frightened or why. They tied the dogs to a tree and spent the afternoon whittling sticks with their Swiss Army knives, peeling and peeling until they had a pile of sticks that were very white and clean and smelled very fresh and were viciously pointed at one end, and they brought these sticks into the tent with them and lay down and slept very well that night.
a squirrel’s lost acorn
in the cab
of a toy dump truck
Twenty miles away, the giant curled up in another clearing, far away from any of the trails, and studied the stars to determine her path and her fate.
from a lost satellite