by Chad Redden
The five of them are still and stand, heads down, backs colored golden by the security light suspended above my neighbor's house for no apparent reason except to ward hyenas from their backyard.
The sudden appearance of hyenas would not be uncommon if I lived in Africa or Asia, but I do not—this sighting takes place in America.
I am an American, so I wonder if this is a dream—it must be about responsibility.
Once, I read that hyenas symbolize an anxiety of responsibility in the dreamer, but I am standing akimbo, smoking a cigarette, watching hyenas stand in my backyard.
Perhaps, this moment is not a dream; perhaps it is a revelation about motion. Hyenas are symbols of motion. Although, throwing rocks does not move them.
If they last the night I shall name each of them. I like the name Peter. That is what I will call the sturdiest one—the one that won't topple after I push.
Pete smells like muscle, his hair is thick and he likes children. At night we lay on our bellies outside the windows of children we spotted earlier that day. Once we learn their names we chant them until the child wakes up and climbs out the window to our glowing eyes.
"Alejandro, Alejandro, Alejandro, Alejandro, Alejandro, Alejandro." Is our chant for tonight.
While lying there, Pete told me milkshakes were symbols of motion and I said "No, you're a symbol of motion, Pete."
He disagreed and to prove he was serious he bit my hand. Nothing serious, just a nip that left a small red crescent moon on the back of my hand. I didn't expect hyenas to laugh all the time but Pete did. Even in his sleep.
Once, I asked him what was so funny. "Nothing," he said, "this is how I breathe."
Chad Redden has been published here and there. He also edits the online magazine NAP.