Bud Smith ~ Rewild

Natalie came back. She brought our bed and the pots and pans. I couldn’t believe it. I crawled up off the floor and she cooked us eggs and made me human again. I scratched her back. Braided her hair. Worshipped her every square mil­lime­ter. We looked out the upper loft win­dow and watched the last day and a quar­ter of win­ter. New grass popped up. Whatever those trees are called got heavy with a tril­lion com­mon green mir­a­cles. South birds flapped back north and sang sang sang us love songs. Bees kissed the ros­es. All that. Warm days again. It kept going. The gray wolf came back next which helped thin those trou­ble­some elk herds. Now fields had a chance again. Aspen, cow-parsnip, wil­low, and mush­rooms had a chance. Meadows spread across the city streets. The beavers stepped out of the dis­tant swamps and came back here to recon­struct their for­got­ten dams and the rivers returned to the nat­ur­al cours­es and the water rushed down the avenues and boule­vards and Natalie and me tore up our MetroCards and carved canoes from any old stray log. The cal­vary came search­ing for the natives but the natives had not returned. Then the natives returned and won. The buf­fa­lo returned. The Pyrenean ibex came back. The black rhi­no came back. The Javan tiger returned. The pas­sen­ger pigeon, Tecopa pup­fish, dodo, great auk, wooly mam­moth, American lion, mastodon, Natalie’s pas­sion, my pas­sion, Natalie’s patience, my patience, the dire wolf, the glyphtodon (big as a Volkswagen Beetle)—all came back. Coal came back. Jobs came back. Golden epochs came back. Hi, how-de-do? The ancient Egyptians came back. They restored the pyra­mids, rent­ed them out for proms and oth­er spe­cial events. Jesus came back, took off his sun­glass­es and bowed, snuck into his cave and napped for­ev­er. That great apoc­a­lyp­tic comet returned but missed Earth this time and so the stegosaurus and tricer­atops and the gigan­tosaurus came back and stomped through the last of the sub­urbs. Vinyl came back. Great. The Ice Age came back. Shit. Natalie and me were hud­dled around the bon­fire, shiv­er­ing. We tried to make a baby, failed, tried again, failed, the fer­til­i­ty test came back a false pos­i­tive. I came. She came. The super vol­canos came back. The pri­mor­dial ooze rushed back. The trilo­bites came back. The first sin­gle celled organ­isms came back. The old oceans surged back and smelled excel­lent but the swim­ming was treach­er­ous. The thun­der­ous crack of the uni­verse begin­ning again was heard once more and I cov­ered my ears and the ears of my baby boy and Natalie cov­ered her ears and I looked at her and still couldn’t believe she was mine again. She’d paid half the rent, loved me for no spe­cial rea­son, dragged the bed up the stairs, put the pots and pans in the cab­i­nets and she’d worn her wed­ding ring and every­thing. How? Everything had come back, but how? Fuck it. Who cares. None of it mat­tered to me except that Natalie had come back. Did you hear what I said? She came back to me.


Bud Smith works heavy con­struc­tion in New Jersey and writes there too. His sto­ries have been pub­lished by The Paris Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Hobart and oth­ers. He’s on the world wide web at neutralspaces.co/bud_smith