Shame, precisely was the lost element. There was barely any fear of consequence. So they would hide behind giant tree trunks on sultry afternoons. The birds would chirp away in drunken siesta as they were, underneath, below. Or if the birds made more noise alarmed, they would shift into the tree's holy womb, its crevice. Sharing the warmth of the rugged walls of wood, and the cold of the air trapped inside for months, with their bodies.
Or be on the river bed. Upon yellow sand, reflecting mirages into the sky. Stretched out asleep, their lithe limbs parallel. On the threshold of a dream. Once up, they would walk toward the tiny island in the middle that cut the river into two, for a while and let them merge again, out of relentless love. Down the line. They dug their ankles into, to check if there was any quicksand.
They breathed the clouds, breathed the smoke. Of dead leaves burning in summer. In wild forest fires, ravenous and all-consuming. Giving up, giving in. Laughing. Inhaling carbon monoxide and losing senses. Clasping palms and being children. Hiding and seeking.
In December, sinking in snow.
Why tell me, again, can't we be like them. You & me. Tell me again.