When she awoke:
He looked as sheepish as an armadillo could.
He explained to her that this was just how it was.
This is how it had always been.
This was not quite how he planned it but.
He could go, no problem.
He went all the time.
He just wasn't sure where, exactly.
And the where and the why of the moment
was a fork in the road.
Forks had more than two prongs
but here she was,
One pronging thataway
one pronging thotherway.
She eyed them both close.
They weren't the same, she could tell that much.
Though she couldn't quite see what was different about them.
They just felt...
well she didn't quite know.
(You know how it is.)
She tapped her toes
snuffed at the dirt
rolled it between her fingers.
She did everything short of licking the ground
But she couldn’t.
She spun on her heel.
“How could you get us so lost?”
“We’re not lost.”
“We’re not lost,” Tatu’s eyes rolled around in his head,
“We’re just not any place in particular.”
She sat herself down in the dust
and embarked on a world-searing pout
most often reserved for ice cream-related disappointments.
Armadillos being notoriously quick thinkers,
Tatu waved his stumpy claws around
and his little black eyes began to sparkle.
He explained to her about the ends of the roads,
having seen a few in his day.
About how at the very far end of that fork
lay a gnarled wood
and former Pick Your Own Apple Orchard
thick through with unknowable unknowns
with thousands of rows
of sharpened teeth.
And at the end of the this fork
there was a city
and in this city
there was a great lion-prowled library propped up with columns
an underground bookstore full of subversive literature
and a coffee house on every corner
where rogue intellectuals undoubtedly disagreed
with established norms.
It was just how she had imagined.
Now that she squinted a little bit harder
she could see it.
The messy angles hooked and wheeled overtop of each other
the steel, the concrete, the sheer weight of it all.
Nothing sagged. Nothing drooped. Nothing soft or bowed.
The thickness only made it
somehow more jagged
and in the center of it all, peaking up over the twisted glass city below was ---
it was a pure ivory rhinoceros horn spire on top.
it was three hundred marble floors if it was a dozen,
each perfectly matching the one beneath.
It was immaculate windows beaming down at you
like cop sunglasses.
It was a holy temple
a testament to humanity
a feat of strength.
It stretched right up into the stars.
That was all Lula needed.
She saw the path before her
paved, lined and neat
grass trim and green on either side
and with one little boot in front of the other
she strolled down the street
making sure to step
on each dotted line as she went.
For good luck.
Tatu watched her go
a little sadder than he meant to be
knowing full well
even if he had tried to follow her
he probably would’ve ended up someplace else.