It’s not real. Keep saying that. Keep seeing it the way it came to you that August day on Whidbey, when half a dozen dogs rushed the fence as you ran too close to the sheep. It’s not real. Keep saying that, the way you kept running, not stopping to see them bare their teeth and snarl at the threat of you, lone wolf on the road. The way you ran right up the hill, out of view, and still their cries called after you, and still you shut your eyes and said again: it’s not real. Behind the fence is where it stays, penned in with danger snapping out as soon as you come into view. Just let it moan. Let it howl until its lungs cave in, pace until it presses hard against the wire between you. Let it empty out into the air all around you, breath so hot you can’t be sure you won’t catch fire. But you won’t. You’ll keep running, right up the hill and out of view, until it only echoes, and then, not even that. Until it fades like the summer sky no soul alive can catch. It’s not real. Keep saying that.