A solitary leaf dangles from the barren tree
Once so vibrant and luscious
Now I look away.
The grey skies are foreboding
Filled with stark reminders that beauty is illusory
And happiness is as fragile as a puff of wind
And love rests on the whims of a gossamer dragonfly wing
As inky clouds skim past the moon and stars
And in the beat of a heart, everything changes.
Memories weave through the bare branches like stinging nettles
And there is no peace to be had.
As I walk through the dense shadows
Acrid smoke fills the air
And I’m drawn to the soaring flames.
I know them and they leap up to greet me
Inviting me to join their dance.
The breeze is a flute playing a melancholy tune
But the dancers continue on, beckoning me into their orbit.
And I know I might be burned
But I haven’t the power to resist the pull of their spirits
Which I’ve missed for an eternity
And I’m drawn further in as they encircle me.
I am seduced by the promise of reunion
And the hypnotic rhythm of the flames
And the wildness of the howling darkness.
I realize the song has changed
And the blaze now sings a question
Asking me why my heart has closed
And surrendered to the nothingness.
I want to break the circuit and run.
But I suddenly lose my footing
And collapse onto the bone-rattling ground.
My head spins but my body is still
Except for my eyes searching the waning blaze
For the dancers who have now retreated into the darkness,
So impenetrable that even the thumbnail moon is unsuccessful
In breaking through the jet-black sky as it all fades to nothing.
I crawl to the embers to search for a message
But all that remains are ashes.
There is no trace of the wildness of the night
And the music has vanished just like the love
That had once been there
And all that’s left is soul-shattering silence.
Nancy Machlis Rechtman has had poetry and short stories published in Paper Dragon, Page & Spine, The Thieving Magpie, Quail Bell, Anti-Heroin Chic, Blue Lake Review, Goat’s Milk, and more. She wrote freelance Lifestyle stories for a local newspaper, and she was the copy editor for another local paper She currently writes a blog called Inanities at https://nancywriteon.wordpress.com.