As I Lay Decaying

I remember sharp morning light piercing the trees.

Glacial wind.

The voluminous silence.

I remember the heaviness of my backpack, the crunch of the undiscovered under my boots, and the awe of solitude in the mountains.


Sudden emptiness underfoot—

My body descending while my mind lingers, immobile for a few more sensations of its final landscape, as my soul, or whatever binds mind to body, stretches like an elastic…

Until the downward pressure is irresistible and my mind snaps back:

The unfathomable sensation of impact.

The horrid pain.

Followed by the merciful snapping of the neck. Audible, echoing…


The coarse sound of my own breathing.

No feeling below the jaw.

No mobility except the eyes, through which the darkness slowly dissipates, revealing the grey sky of an autumn afternoon across which scatter the black crows of despair.

When you’ve nothing but thoughts, thoughts achieve a terrifying dimension.

I should have told someone where I was hiking.

They won’t find me in time.

I expect to die because such is the rational expectation. If not coldness, dehydration, or eventually starvation. Perhaps an animal ripping apart my throat. Perhaps madness.

But my body does not die. My cognition endures.

The minutes fall away.


A rain shower passes, moistening my face and throat. Although I have no voice, my mouth must be open.

Night chills me.

I hear ruthless nocturnal predation.

I persist.

On the break of the seventh day, a bird perches on my weathered face and drops a split worm into my mouth.

Insects follow, and I imagine them as a parade of nourishment marching single-file within me.

My broken body begins to decay.

At night, wolves tear away the dead and dying flesh.

Ants eat skin off my face.

Autumn cocoons me in her fallen leaves.

But always a creature drags them from my eyes, so that I see the clouds, the fluid sky, the surpassing of time by time. Months. Human legs step over without stopping, without identification. The leaves disintegrate. Snow accumulates like dust. Spring reveals dirt, moss and a mound with eyes. Years. I must be consciousness in a skull by now. I remember:

As I lay decaying, the wolf with the woman’s eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades.

I lose time.

So many skies have passed.

When the she-wolf gazes down upon me as if at her own reflection—

I understand.

That night I prowl through her eyes.

I learn to bend my fingers: roots, branches; my arms: trunks; and feel through my antennae: swaying grass…

How good the first taste of human meat, lashed by vines and ripped apart, consumed in the darkest caves. But humanity is mere appetizer. What I crave is civilization. To grind flesh and skyscrapers into sludge, to spear tanks and eviscerate data centers, to pull down airliners as effortlessly as a frog catches flies. But I am young, and long shall on your decaying world I feast.