Displays of Aquatic Escape Behavior
When you died, I took Ellie to Borneo with me. I left your ashes in the
garden. Now, my beard is long and my shoulders are suntanned—like they
were when we spent all those months in Bahia—when you studied the
mating habits of Golden-Bellied Capuchins and I cut my heel open on the
rocks and watched my own blood cloud the river water.
Ellie is growing up. Her toes are similar in length and shape to yours.
Her second toe is considerably longer than the first—a primate
quality. I can't keep up with my papers anymore and I think I am losing
focus. Ellie found a picture of you from Tennessee. I'd forgotten how
long your hair was. I'm sorry.
Yesterday I was dehydrated. While I was hiking, I walked toward a deep
and winding rush of water that cuts through the land here. Ellie is
smart and cunning. I think she is tired of Borneo. She complains of
sweating and of her inability to purchase Diet Coke. Yesterday, as I
walked toward the creek, I saw a little brown thing dart out from under
the bush. It was a Mouse Deer, no higher than my knee. Spotted or
striped; it was a tawny flash in my field of vision.
Ellie misses blue jeans, I think, and Nick at Night.
The little Mouse Deer dove into the water with abandon. It submerged. I
sat on the bank to watch her. Every three or four minutes I saw her
snout surface for air, but otherwise, there she lay—her tiny legs
tucked under her belly, the cool water rushing over her back, her long
fangs bared on my behalf. After a while, she turned and swam gracefully
along the silty bottom, to the other bank.
Rose Sullivan is in the MFA program at Spalding University.
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201004displays.htm
Detail of photo on main page courtesy
w i g · l e a F