I don’t know why he walked as far north as he could, and then kept walking.
When I asked where he was from, he only told me that he was born into the grid, his miniature fingers and toes tugged out of the womb and plugged into the motherland, a day trip from the Krakow camps, a cheap package tour away.
I remember he smiled when he added that for “sleeping bag,” for “timber wolf,” for “frostbite,” he’d forgotten the German words — that after you fall eighty feet out of a tree onto pine needles on the forest floor and walk away, you start to think in English.
After eating nothing but milkweed for eight moons, you’re somewhere beyond thinking.
And after you’re caught out in the dead of winter without your heavy parka, you learn: A finger here, a toe there, that’s a fair price for pulling away from the plugs.