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The grey clouds roll in from the southeast
like a cumbersome beast
a thick pewter fog smothering all
a hollow silence
menacing but devoid of violence.
Face pales with blood draining
The mass hovers almost low enough to touch
I reach up
Eerie wisps manifest like ghosts
a writhing mass of souls
mouths agape, eyes like holes
voicelessly pleading, beseeching
spectral hands reaching.
Stumbling through the damp leaves
past the ancient trees
old and strong their roots run deep
decades of secrets they must keep.
Looking up I note a clutch of small birds
birds of a feather
they too feel the weight of the lowering cloud
a damp woolen shroud
motionless they sit knowing full well
the danger of calling attention to themselves.
Visibly they flinch as my gaze finds them
fear blinds them
slowly they shift their weight
sidle closer to each other
tiny bodies shudder
I am impotent to reassure them.
I descend to where the dock is
hands deep in my pockets
navigating the narrow pier
I feel a claustrophobic fear
The lake is like glass.
I notice as I pass
tiny minnows in the reeds
my footfalls usually give them a start
make them frantically dart
Now they hang motionless en masse
gills barely moving, eyes catatonic
psychotic fish I find ironic
The world seems in a trance
Perhaps God has pushed the pause button
on some existential remote
I laugh noiselessly at my joke.
All sound is smothered and slaughtered
as the dense clouds drifts over the water.
I see an occasional ghosty form
swirling dark specter torn
There's nothing I can do
life's filled with endless rue
I am as lost and powerless as they
a non speaking role in this earthly play
I drift along in a fog of my own
heart like a stone.
Silently a ring takes shape
on the glass surface of the lake
in its center a turtle snout
forced up and out
to breathe no doubt.
A mathematically perfect circle
created by a turtle
Suddenly my reverie is ruptured
heart lurching upward
the immense solitude punctured
like a balloon
by the mocking call of a loon
insane laughter at its best
an avian jest
Both the laughter and the turtle disappear
and I would not be surprised if the world
had been swallowed whole
each and every soul
and we find ourselves in the belly of the beast
While my mind opens and expands
like the petals of a lotus
I wonder if anyone would even notice.
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