The Disquieting Muses
We are all waiting by the gate. Down below us, water slaps in irregular movements against the stone. In the shadows the ripples are grey and green, sometimes brown. In the light, we can see only white reflections, a trapped sun. The children finally collapse in the dirt, rubbing their fingers in the dust and then sucking them. The parents lift their children by the hands, try to get them to stand. The children slide down slowly as if the bones in their legs have turned to syrup. They hold the fallen maple leaves to their ears, crinkle the dry red back and forth.
The older children try to walk but the sounds under their feet stop them. They lift their sandels gingerly, distracted by the rustle. The parents continue to walk in circles, talking on their cell phones or staring morosely at the sky, waiting for the gate to open.