River of Death

The river rises I know not where and it flows I know not where
Nor do I care to know.

They say it is born, a clear and insignificant afterthought, in the Northern hills; and that is empties, tainted and muddy, into the Southern sea.

It must know of grass and hill and pine, for it is said one can smell these things in its waters.

The river is broad and deep and free and it sings of love and wild passion – yet it is chained by its banks, and it cries of torment and flows as a wave of tears.

Off in the backwaters a white pelican drifts among the ripples in solemn concentration, his mantle a tarnished reflection of a dying day.

The sun is sweeping down to light the land across the mountain, turning the river to fire from its retreat.

The swells and undulations radiate mechanically from where I toss the pebbles, circles losing themselves in the darkening flow.

The moist bank chills quickly.

Crickets chant the processional of night.

I am alone.

I can see the river no longer, but I still feel it breathing next to me – the rhythmic flux is reassuring, a pulse promising life unending.

The waters are calling me now, demanding my presence.

They are not to be denied.

I commit myself this night to resurrection ‘neath the distant sea; the river shall bear my coffin, the hanging windows shall be my flowers, the night shall keep my vigil.

Let the foolish bullfrogs start the monotonous dirge, let the stars be my candles.

I am unafraid.