But I can’t help wanting to walk barefoot through thorns, thistles, squishing
my toes into dark mud, then wash them clean
in creeks that whisper at night.
I was closer to life in youth when I walked alone, the river leading me by hand,
while whippoorwills sang the coming of dusk.
Some nights, I didn’t go home, just laid under a cypress,
breathing the damp air,
hearing the honeysuckle vines teeming with bees buzzing low. The bull frogs
croaking stacked on the barking squirrels and cottonmouths I didn’t see, but smelt.
I don’t want deliverance; I don’t know what that means.
For the world to be more spacious would suit
me, instead, I watch the death of the sun, dipping low behind the oaks in the west,
then I shut the blinds, strangling the remnants of wilderness.
About James Dunlap:
James Dunlap is a Creative Writing major at the University of Arkansas. He received his Associates of Art at Pulaski Technical College. He's been published three times through PTC, one piece in the scholarly journal Milestones, and twice in the Literary Journal The View From Here. He has received awards for Best Prose and Best Poetry from PTC, as well as honorable mention in the Tails from the South Literary Festival.