Thursday, February 16, 2012

Evening's Chair

A soldier, returned home from foreign wars
That had never properly concluded
And probably never would, changed his clothes

And, dressed once again as a civilian,
Hiked up into the mountains of his youth,
Where dark forests still crowded the canyons,

Where no shots other than those of hunters
Had been heard for over a hundred years.
He climbed the green slopes to his favorite place,

A natural meadow of summer wildflowers 
That had, in bloom, entranced him as a boy.
He lay there in the sun and dreamed of sleep.

So he stayed all day. No one disturbed him.
Whenever he opened his eyes, the sky
Was blue and empty, fringed with brilliant flowers

At which he sighed and closed his eyes again,
And whenever he felt a surge of fear 
It subsided in sun and insect hum.

At last, evening came. The sky turned purple,
And the soldier, sitting up in the chair
Of blue flowers, waited to watch stars rise.

He had just about made up his mind to go,
Seeing Venus shining past the far ridge,
When a grunt, like something clearing its throat,

Rasped in the grass an arm's length from his head.
The soldier stopped breathing, caught in ambush.
He guessed from the snuffling it was a bear.

He waited for the bear's outraged surprise.
He watched the sky produce its golden eyes,
Glittering with being, alive, not lives.

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