Sara Greenwood

Her thick golden eyes roved over and under the dim canyon, and dark orange reflected in them and smiled back at her, coloring her eyes thick and sluggish, like old honey. Thickly matted and torn and thorn ridden thick coat rose in shaggy billows over her narrow chest and brisket, and dark shades of brown and white painted and complimented her angular face, small brown discs rising in blood paint above her eyes. Her shale black nose dripped slightly in the saccharine heat, and her whiskers twitched and sounded in the silent dust, taking in sound and vibration, and listening raptly to the screaming of small things that gamboled in the middens. Tasty small and furry things, that snapped at first bite and lay still afterwards. They bled rusty into the sand, and she could wait in the bushes and kill the foxes that came afterwards, snapping the fox's necks as they licked and worried the damp sand, listening to them yip and scatter.

Dark and scarred lined paws scattering sound over the hard sandstone floor of the canyon, she moved off into the gloom at a heady trot, blinking, thinking dead thoughts of warm rabbits, eaten in chilly evenings when warm, chivalrous blood painted her and played into her eyes.

The dank, absent scream of a deadened raven bounced over and into her ears, and she blinked dustily and calmly and contritely, little motes of red dust rising upwards and getting into her eyes; catching in the amber, caught like insects. She hacked and coughed and sniffed twice and voided the dust with a toss of her wedge shaped head, and she kept her face down and held it there, for a short moment. A long pink slab of a tongue lolled gently out and onto the side of her mouth, droplets of cool and crystallized saliva, flicking brilliantly off her lips and dying the sand, gnats springing to the moisture, drowning. She turned around and dropped slowly to her scarred and wired haunches, watching the cadaver black raven, sound tracking him, listening to him breathe. The young raven turned and wheeled and cast a small shadow on the patina of dark black stone varnish, and she shifted her weight onto her feet delicately, placing one matted paw into the airborne dust for a brief
moment and hanging it there, letting the air clean out the scars and fill them in again and pretend to heal them. Blinking again in the kicked up redness, she dropped the small paw with a deadened thump, thump of a dying mustang sinking into sand, evoking memories of warm blood and torn brown hide, full belly for a week and sleeping and forgetting about hunting and pissing on her own rock and staying put for a while.

She moved into a stallion canter, lifting her feet up and sashaying over the sand and pebbles and the small and pissant cacti, swaying hips and body like a greyhound, like a wiser and older greyhound then the airhead gray and brindle bastards, brought out to play games for the men. Her legs moved under and up and tucked beneath her deep lead chest and buffeted out again, and she moved like brown silt water, like an old red flash flood circling and sliding over the ruins and the red rock and the beer cans and lifting them up and leaving them by the sides of the old creek beds, where the cattle caught tetanus from the old rusted metal. Dead cattle, warm cattle, locked jaws and stiff muzzles and blowfly's encroaching on their eye sockets, and gray beige looped intestines, drooped like vines over her back and face and eyes, and leaving a thick and wondrous smell over her fur for long days on end.

Her tongue danced up and flapped and made sound against her jowls and the saliva sprayed in concentric circles, leaving her trail marker in the deep red sand. Her tail flew up and waved like a slim browned branch of willow, and the driving wind carried her tail upward and kept it at firm level with her sharp head, which ducked and kept terse timing with the bounce of her rangy and eternal stride. The raven barked ahead and she broke out mad, into a hare lope, running and half hopping, chasing his shadow with her dark red muzzle. Track and scent of doe and lizard and Anazazi spirit and eco tourist, dropped into the air and reassimaliting like old rain puddles into her nose, telling her things about the owner, strange and old and odd things, truths about the curve of the old doe's flank and the scent of the chemical plastic of the tourist's sandals and the tense movement of the young brown lizard over and about the sandstone.

The raven dove and dropped downwards into an old slot canyon, and she gathered up her pace and stood solid, still, thinking swiftly. The old snake of the small slot canyon tore and dived through the sand, leaving a thick brown dead tree cleft over the landscape. The bloodstained mesa rose up behind her and cast a thick afternoon shadow over her, turning her colors to a bloodier stain, turning her eyes into amber brown shards of deadened color, gleaming slightly in the wind. She sat down stiffly and watched the raven, watched him turn over in the air and croak like the brown toads down in the old green seep pond, where she paused to drink the bad water and eye the thirst starved hares carefully, tracking them with her eyes as they paused to dip their heads and lower their fine brown ears to their heads and stop the motion of their whiskers for a moment.