Hand-cut collage on cardboard.
When we walk in the forest, the children run ahead, sometimes rounding corners just out of sight. I imagine snakes. An unlikely suburban bear. Loose dogs showing their teeth. I call them back, and then I let them run again. I read in the news there was a coyote in the neighborhood.
I remember how it felt to run freely in the woods when I was a small girl. I'd run so fast, I'd hear my own heart beating. I want them to be free to play. I have to watch them so they don't get eaten by bears.
When you walk in the city, do you run ahead of yourself? Do you let your flesh hold back, bearing witness to what is coming? Around any corner, the original sin that built our world could be lurking, blue and bristling.
Strangulation is a compression of the neck that may lead to unconsciousness or death by causing an increasingly hypoxic state in the brain.
I rub coconut oil on the children after their baths. They're tired, and so they're mean. They tell me they don't love me, and I cry. I've never explained to them that the police could kneel on their necks for this kind of insurrection. They're free to play.
Everything is shaped like a monster. I shudder in the silence, and I make sure I've set the alarm. We thought we could stay safe if we stayed inside, but there is an ancient evil, coiled to strike. There are many kinds of strangulation, but most of them won't touch me.