In the woods, climbing through the copses of dangling branches, I find Totoro. His sleeping mouth is set in a relaxed upturned smile. He isn’t grainy like the VHS Totoro, the library tape probably caught in a sticky VCR and respooled until it crackled and jumped.
Perhaps it finally split, and the celluloid creatures ushered out, burrowing free from the landfill, pushing aside old appliances to scamper and flit, and run with the current along the powerlines.
I find him when I’m not looking. I’m here for morel mushrooms; a few already in a burlap bag so that their spores can fall and settle for the next season.
I had climbed trees trying to find him, looked under rocks, in hollowed out trunks, down in ravines with broken glass, and empty plastic cups. In half grown fairy rings, I’d raised my arms to the sky as if conducting the hum and cry of the July cicadas and waited for the acorns under my feet to germinate and push us up.
I leave him here in his peace, in his quiet woods, surrounded by verdant things. I step carefully around branches, over wormy logs. I wish him well here in these small woods in the middle of the city. I will try to be like him: undisturbed, sleeping quietly in my circumstance.
Rachel is a librarian in the midwest. She spends her spare time wrangling cats and writing tales. Find her words in Hungry Shadow Press’ Deadly Drabble Tuesdays, Shacklebound Anthologies and Celestite Poetry. She’s on twitter @RachCraftsTales