The Pull of the World

Before the alarm howls the morning is on their room through the blinds, lines of it against the closet door and into the bathroom. There are doves in the trees cooing, wringing night out of their feathers. Elk move through the park across the street and their wet fur steams in the earliest bits of sun. Elizabeth rolls out of bed.

“Get up, you’ll make us late.” Billy throws the covers from his body but lies there with an arm draping over his eyes.

“I said get up!” Elizabeth halls on the lines to open the blinds and light pours in. Maggie covers her face with a leg, gives it a lick and smooths the fur on her snout, and Billy feels the full weight of his body heavy against the mattress and the pull of an entire planet keeping him still and prone. The light of the sun warming his skin. He feels it on his chest, his stomach, his legs. Forces much larger than himself. Elizabeth is brushing her teeth and as Billy pulls up his legs Maggie takes advantage of the empty space and jumps onto the bed. She lays at his feet out of reach.

As he always does, Billy struggles through the morning. He sits on the edge of the bed and arches his back into and against the pain. He brushes his teeth without his glasses, standing in the bathroom window collecting the sun on his face with the blurred view of mountain peaks, recesses in shadow, clefts of rock gathering light and pitching shade. He showers and the spray of it washes over his eyes and his nose and his mouth. He stands still and waits for the morning to fill him with strength, and when it doesn’t he dresses for work and walks down the stairs. When he does the maw of the world opens wide.

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