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the heartless hunter

“Do you know what constellation that is?”

I followed his gesture. Of course.


“No matter what, I look up and it’s the first thing I see. Always.”

“Not in the summer.”

He looked at me blankly.

“I could have looked first at the sky in that direction,” he continued, pointing west above the ocean. “But I didn’t.”

“You won’t see it in the summer,” I pressed, but he offered nothing, perhaps finding my fastidious nature tiresome, so I didn’t bother explaining that it haunts me too. Why I loathe it but find its beauty indisputable. How the reappearance of its broad shoulders creeping into the night sky signals fall’s inevitable start, the loss of warmth and freedom. How it hangs there all winter, a marker for my misery, its belt and sword glistening through the chilled moisture in the air. Or that its gradual descent below the horizon as we draw closer to spring is a relief but is also some strange daunting reminder of the passage of time. I didn’t say any of that.

“I just always see it first.”

“Me too,” I whispered.

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