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Peter Holds His Made Shadow

Emma Sovich

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Peter's hands left shadows on the wall that,

even left behind, chattered and bit each other and bloomed. Peter left behind everything. When he left his shadow he left it.

            A boy can't make his name shadowless. He took to darkness, to brush against so many shadows he didn't miss his own.

            He set about making another. He'd never made a thing in life.

            His shadow had been warm, so he started with a blanket. This he cut to a cat shape, for his shadow had been clever and aloof and somewhat vain. He couldn't convince the cat to follow him so he unraveled it and kept the weft. This he rolled into a ball and pocketed until he could learn better to make.

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Peter halved the weft 

            in folds and halved it again for keeps. He collected the greenest leaves and folded them into the weft. He folded and pulled and leaved and folded and pulled until the would-be shadow lengthened. He held it up to himself. It came to his shoulder. Its toes brushed his. Peter pressed it to himself. It felt wrong. He held it to the light and it gleamed with leaves. Too living.

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Peter holds his made shadow

            in his hands against the wall, smooths it, watches it ravel as clouds mottle the light. If there are or aren't buildings there are clouds and/or sun. Peter of the cityscape. Peter crower, louder than the pigeons, louder than the wind embellishing the windows. Peter plummets down faces and his shadow slips behind, toe to toe and pealing.

EmmaSovich studies Book Arts and Creative Writing at the University of Alabama. Find her work in or soon in Hayden's Ferry Review, Fairy Tale Review, and Handsome, among others. She blogs at graveyardhouse.com.

Illustration by Seth Young.

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