It’s been over a month now since my dead muse followed me back from the desert. She’s always right here whenever my mind falls away from the fore. She lurks like a shadow and a memory, though her cold presence is now devoid of the fearful substance I remember of our first encounter. How my breath was taken away at that first sight at the edge of the Volcano Wilderness. I wonder if she saw me then too? Did she know me before? I certainly never knew anything prior so awful in the wild. Though there was that one cold night…thirty-odd years back. That night I passed alone within a vast desert empty, an empty which brushed past my tent while I slept, threatening my youth with its whispered age, and inviting me out to shiver barefoot and exposed while gazing up at the dark night, and across at the black empty. I was young then. Perhaps too alive to see. Maybe that’s the reason she’s here now? Are my eyes simply opened? Was she here all along? Will she ever leave? I think I know the answer. Though it’s perhaps best I keep that supposition to myself.