I lost a foot a few miles back,
which had me down for a while.
I lurch forward with one strong leg,
drag this bony stump behind me.
I turn around,
see the print of a single boot,
more or less in a line,
and then a faint streak on the right
drawn in the mud by my tibia.
I’ve lost some parts here and there,
the cartilage on my face long gone.
A couple of fingers have dropped off,
and my teeth are nothing to speak of.
My smile is gray, yellow, brown
with jack-o-lantern gaps.
But losing a foot
affects my mobility,
and I must always be on the move.
If you don’t walk,
you don’t eat.
Simple as that.
I find an abandoned roller skate
in a suburban cul-de-sac.
No rumbling minivan engines,
no jovial dads with smoking grills,
no cannonballs in the pool,
no joyfully shrieking children.
My mouth waters a little.
I break into one of the homes,
have a sit on a dusty sofa.
It’s a nice couch,
probably was too nice to sit on before.
I pretend to watch
the wall-sized flat-screen TV.
But I remember my mission
and search closets and cabinets,
hoping no wide-eyed survivor
would blow a hole through my chest
with a shotgun.
Finally I find the roll of duct tape
and attach that roller skate
to the end of my footless leg.
Now I’ve got wheels to help me stagger ahead,
and I feel a warm sense of well-being
for the first time in days.
I don’t mind the silence, really,
don’t mind the solitude.
I’ve never had so much time
to just think before.
Never savored food
the way I do when I tear
into pale flesh
and crush still-beating hearts
between my teeth.
I could never hear the birds
over the dull roar of traffic,
never really spent so much time outside
in the fresh air,
not like I do now.
I am free now of vanity,
free of pain.
Sometimes I do wish I could settle down
in one of these unused homes,
tend the lawn,
fill the birdfeeders,
read a few books,
but I’ve got to keep moving,
propelled by hunger.
And when there’s nothing left to consume,
I’ll find an open field,
and stare up at the stars
until I finally close my eyes.