by: d. heidel

“How do you deal with your anger?”

His smile is an easy one, but his eyes are glassy.  They focus on me momentarily and then shift to something just over my left shoulder – something that I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to see.

“What do you mean?” he says.

“You’re –,” and I point, sheepishly, to his belly.  The flesh is whole, unbroken, but I know that sometime today, it will again be torn apart.  It will be shredded, tattered, ripped away from the organs underneath.

The waves crash on the shore below us.  It’s beautiful here.  I could sleep here forever, listening to the waves on the rocks and the sand, smelling the salt that rises like perfume beneath the morning sun.

There’s a faint sound of car tires and –?  People talking?  It’s hard to say.  It could be the scream of a gull.  And the waves are incessant.

“You must be angry.” It’s more of a question than anything.

“It’s been so long,” he says.  And it’s hard for me to believe that: his flesh is young, his musculature pleasant to look at.  His beard his healthy, his hair thick and warm with the coastal sun.

The sun is at the ten o’clock position.  It will arc toward its zenith.  And then it will fall until it meets the ocean.  And still, the waves will crash.

And sometime between here and night, the bird will come.  Maybe it will shriek, maybe not.  It must be so well-fed by now that it doesn’t need to call out.  It will come and tear the man’s stomach to ribbons, bloody its beak, spill blood upon its perched talons.  And then, dipping its feathered head again and again and again, it will not stop until it has torn the liver free from his body.  It will eat some of it right here.  Surely, it will be so drunk on rich blood that it will eat some of it right here.

His eyes though will roll and he will moan and writhe.  And the bird will be disturbed so that it will pluck up the remains of the organ and fly off into the mountains until tomorrow.

Until tomorrow.

Until the sun again rises.