Termination Dust

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Termination Dust

 

You stared in silence 

at the MRI, at the shadowy

cavitation of a patient’s brain. 

It was progressing, this unknown process, at breathtaking speed.

Your team had tossed every life raft, every throw rope overboard,

and watched them sink, without effect, into the deeps.

Soon you shuffled down the hall, eyes averted.

It was time for rounds.

 

His fiancé fisted the railing

as you all filed into the room, 

offering more specialists and procedures,

last ditch efforts to pull this young man from the storm

of his inevitable end.

But no one spoke of that.

You shifted quietly at the bedside, 

navigating this unexpected failure.

Weary of this, you drifted, watching

the patient’s smooth brow, his even breathing, his clear eyes.

As his cloudless gaze met yours,

you straightened, seeing now a soul 

instead of a patient,

not a life cut short,

no victim of neurodegenerative 

disease. 

You saw he was 

the only peaceful being in the room.

For a moment, you leaned toward him, 

drawn into his tide.

 

That was years ago. Now,

when the autumn storms arrive,

the forest fills with our territorial calls.

You see the boat caught in a squall,

feel the frost reach deep fingers across the meadow

to drape the mountains in white.

A season is ending

and darkness opens its grip, taking more.

This is one way to see it. 

 

Come with me.

Meet me at the snow line, 

where the termination dust falls.

This apparent boundary

is more than just a gradient,

a single point of transition.

Some snow is melting. An ice fog hovers. Rime hugs the willow.

All phases are at play here,

a constant recreating 

of form

and light.

Watch with me, here on this hemlock

perch

as the sun rides lower,

drawing the dusk into lazy, husky flames.

The white ridges catch fire, embers of rose

and violet,

and even the night is brightened 

by this so called dust.

This is the owl’s view. We call it out across the valley, then

fold our silent wings 

to watch.

Can you see it?

Like his wordless, lucent gaze,

the storm holds both

a battle

and a brightening.

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