Gregory E. Lucas writes fiction and poetry. His short stories have appeared in The Horror Zine, Dark Dossier, Blueline, Pif, Cenotaph, Intertext, Yellow Mama, and in several other magazines. Some of his poems have appeared in Blueline, Peeking Cat, and in Bewildering Stories.
COPYRIGHT 2016 LITERARY JUICE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Shhh. Listen close. Don’t paddle and stay still.
We’ll drift for now across the pond, through the mist.
If you keep those oars from clunking you’ll hear it too --
Those subtle tones, more quiet than tumbling leaves,
Notes from no one place --
but from everywhere . . . .
Only folks too troubled to dispel
Their never ending squalls of grief and strife,
Their inner voices echoing within,
Can’t perceive the sound I’m talking about.
It’s not a lonesome bird calling for a mate,
Or the patter of water streaming over rocks.
It’s not a voice of someone far away,
Nor is it the whir of wind through those gold
And browning Adirondack Mountain slopes.
It’s more like the blended song of all of these.
What’s wrong? You think I’m an addlebrained old man?
Go on. Say it. Old Evan Hayes you’re cracked.
Perhaps a bit my friend, but not so much.
Age, admittedly has taken its toll,
But has taught me how to defy the pains of loss:
Not quite the same as yours; we’ve each our own.
You though -- you sit with open books for hours,
Eyes fixed on pages that you never read.
All day, all night, awake or in your dreams
His blurry visage looks back at you
From out the depths of the icy pond that broke
And claimed your grandson’s life last Christmas Day:
Dwain -- would’ve turned fifteen -- forever gone.
Often you ask a god you don’t believe in
Questions that there are no answers to And pace the floor of your neglected home,
Shaken by grief, your mind a stormy swirl,
The very opposite of this wilderness calm.
Ahead of us the fog is lifting now.
I think it’s best to pick up the oars. We’ll paddle.
A good J-hook will get us back on course,
From you up at the bow. One more. That’s good.
The morning light is shining through at last.
Glitter mixes with the rippled current
And a path of widening gleam marks the way. Ever seen a more tranquil place than this?
It’ll soothe tempestuous thoughts. Yours, too.
We’re approaching the mouth of the rivulet
That twists and flows between this nameless place
And Mirror Lake -- a painted glass in fall.
That’s the hum of water gushing over stone
And the voice of the world beseeching us to free
Ourselves from grief -- to persevere, withstand.
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