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Archive for September, 2009

ice sheets

In the distance thick sheets of ice shatter and explode and then it’s very quiet, very cold, and the sky is always twilight. The Sad Men have torn apart much of their ice locked ship and used it’s timber to build small fires around which they huddle. Wrenching apart the ship to keep the fires burning consumes most of their day.

There’s little to do but think about dying out here on the ice and snow. Here your frozen corpse would lie under a few dim stars until spring. Your eyes wide, staring up through the perpetual twilight.

So for now you keep moving. Moving reassures you that you are not yet dead. Keep moving. Keep cursing through the breath that unfurls from your mouth. Keep moving while thinking about the woman you’ll never touch again. Keep moving and remember the children you’ll never see grow. Keep moving and whisper a toast to friends never to be seen again. Keep moving, dwelling on the life you’ll never live.

“Captain, the time has duly past, Sir.” The ship’s Lieutenant stumbled toward his superior, his left foot wrapped in blood stained cloth. He dragged his frostbitten limb past the bodies of the recently dead crewmen.”We’ve known where we are, Sir, and that IS LOST. And furthermore, we know our course from here and it IS NOWHERE, SIR”

“You WILL pipe down, Lieutenant. We have men in distress”, the hoarse whisper  rasped  from between the Captain’s chapped and bloodied lips, “and I will not have an officer incite more fear in these desperate men. Do you understand me?” He turned back to the bodies to review those lost overnight.

“Distressed? I’d worry not of their distress. It is their hunger that will hang you, Sir. The bodies at your feet are vacant. Their souls have taken leave and they need this meat no more. Were we home this soulless flesh  would be feeding worms. I ask you Captain, would you feed churchyard worms yet starve your crew?’

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the clearing

we were confined to the bomb shelter for longer than anyone had anticipated. we started rationing food once we had eaten half of our supply but it soon became obvious that we wouldn’t have enough. it was difficult to live this way, 6 of us in a small dark, stuffy box underground. the worst was when we had to crap. there was no room for privacy. everyone looked away but no one talked so everyone heard your bowel movement. because of poor ventilation there was no where for the smell to go.
i used to dream about the forest while in the underground shelter. in dreams i would run freely through the trees, among the sweet smell of the pines and the dank cedar swamps. i would find friends there in the woods of my dreams. i would chase them through the dream forest but i would always wake before catching them.
one day in one of my dreams i followed lewis through the woods, ducking beneath low branches and jumping over large rocks and exposed roots. we were both laughing and shouting until we came to a clearing. the sun poured down through the leaves and limbs of the tree tops. it reached down to the ground in shafts of bright golden light and illumined the severed limbs and torn bodies of all the children and their families with whom lewis and i had attended school. it was a bloodied field of gore and body parts.
my father woke me from this dream. i told him where i had gone and what i saw. he assured me there was no field of gore in the middle of the forest. in fact, he said, the forests themselves were no more.

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