I wonder if trees have memories, if rocks and mountains record life as it passes them by? I wonder if the stones and the mud and the dust and the flowers, if the eagles and the vultures remember us? I wonder if some nameless face in a gas station ever thinks about that woman who came in with her Girl and bought three ice creams, and tried to buy four, but the girl refused, and ever wonders what happened on that road to Floodwood. What happened to that Girl and her mother who wore a worried look. I wonder if they remember the small slim boy with the baseball mitt permanently attached to his paw. I wonder if they thought that Billy looked too old for a family that age, or if I looked too young to be with him. I wonder if the trees remember me. I remember them, owl-heavy, sunshine-shielding, raindrop holding, rest providing, solid. I remember Cass Lake in the summer and the pow wow with the girls in their heavy beads, and the boys cocky and serious, tail feathered and bent double over a birthright or a memory that was not their own. I remember them. I wonder if those paths bear a footprint, not quite wiped clean by years or ice or snow or summer again. I wonder if any mark is left to remember and bear and hold what I cannot.
I looked out over Cass Lake, no deteriorations, no troubles, no blood dripping from little nose and onto the floor in puddles as I grasped onto a memory of a tiny body beaten out of me purple and gasping, lungs not filling, not a sound except my screams and bargains, my pain and my desolation. I looked out over Cass Lake with three ice creams in a bag melting in the sun as the universe told me to get used to it and I refused to listen to what I could not bear.
I wonder if the trees remember what I cannot or if the river carried it away, the river cold and fast, the river alive and whirling, not to Jordan, but to the Lethe, the stream of Nothing, not consciousness not breath, not life that is beyond that does not ask who we are but instead swallows us up in one great yelp.