The Questioner

Anger’s path seared the tranquil lake. Steam quivered rising to cloud hushed ideals of freedom.

Leaning forward each of us reached to touch the riled surface its tension then shattered by gentleness. The cavern echoed sorrow like a plague that filled each heart.

I whispered the raven’s song. With its silk-black feathers stretched to comb the air the creature swept back against what thrust it forward. The near silent brushing of wings drawn and feathered with curved tips lifted never yielding, but you were not there.

The raven flew.

The anguish you cannot speak. The anguish I cannot hear twisted your spirit tormented your life and walked across fragile surfaces crushing spring’s new sprouts now never growing.

I felt a languid stirring, heard melodic laughter hushed and shy. The channel’s flow opened not resisting any vessel’s passage. Overhead wings beat pulsating petting warm air rising lifting the feathered body to glimmer iridescent beneath the setting sun.

I opened my eyes after seeing you stand before me. A blink too slow you were gone.

The earth where I trod is where you never walked yet your steps go before me leading, to a place I have yet to visit.

Your thoughts now ethereal send images too vivid to ignore too vague to be dimensional. Like footprints through pelting snow your memory was mine alone passing through this reality of life like a blurred chameleon of time.

The secret was not in remembering but in remembrance. The thought not solid existence but woven fragments of past, juxtaposed crafting scenes to be recalled later as events lived through and beyond. If the listener cannot fathom the words approaching him fends off all but what was pleasant to hear the present shrivels into a past devoid of life.

Overhead hear the ancient Raven’s call

echoes spiraling its blackened plummet

each quill heart-beaten into a maul

its anger glistening death’s surfeit.

The raven sang unrecognized song. Black liquid feathers melted beneath the arc of sun ran red into brown dripping off ebon down liquefied yesterdays into the solitude of today, and then you are lost.

“I remember that name,”

he said to me,

“From the man who wore his shame,

and kept it company.”

And you my friend, are otherwise gone having left nothing behind to build memories nothing to cherish but what will never be.

And then too late you listened to the raven’s song.

Leaning against the tree carefully avoiding an angry burl I allowed my eyelids to drift down slowly closing out the green the ebony and the memory.

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