Dark that night.

©2021 Michael Raven

Dark that night, down by the river, I wandered — listless, the insomniac, the waking somnambulist. The moon, a pregnant rabbit giving birth to the stars pouring out over the sky scattershot white vomit and winking; that moon filled all the grey spaces with ghosts and pale reflections of verdant colors thrusting themselves from the earth in patches and bursts.

I wandered, as I said, the light catching everything sidewise and specter. They should have been weeds — I told myself they must be weeds — but the wrong it prevailed, rippling in rhythm with the everchanging flow of the river, whip-snapping with the current, was her hair, a phantasm of pale ribbon in the flux-tugging pull of change.

I might have screamed, but I don’t recall doing so. It is hard to scream with lips sutured shut.

Pushing back the rushes, the cattails and bramble, I captured her porcelain pale face mirroring the moon, photographing with the flicker-shutter of my eyes spying. clickclick. My hands reached out, down there my the river, to take her hand in mine, draw her forth like water from the water on the river water song, but my actions with the foliage freed her from her moorings and that jezebel rusalka drifted away, flowing over lodged branches, those makeshift arbitrary dams found in all rivers, poured over stones and eddies, flowing downstream.

I waved goodbye, watching until she was lost to sight before turning to trails meandering through the night.

Dark that night, down by the river, I wandered — listless, the insomniac, the waking somnambulist.

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