Fellow Travelers

The wind rustles through pines, birches, and others unnamed.
An owl’s wings slash the smudges of charcoal.
Suddenly, night is sharpened into onyx.
Somewhere a mouse is surely seized and devoured.
Between wind and pursuit and downfall all you hear is silence.

You walk and walk,
although you can’t remember donning these hiking boots.
You walk as if you were called here. And you were.
You’ve come a long way to this arboreal assembly.
You’ve sought out these hills, these strands of lushness.

This is where you’ve chosen to sculpt your conclusion.
Not in an institutional bed.
Not in bath tub water rapidly converting to crimson.
Not with pills strategically popped.
Not with a gun effortlessly acquired at the big box store.

Here in this renowned wood, where the air itself glows
as a kaleidoscope of green, darkness will rise.
You sense the spirits of those similarly inclined congregated around you.
You feel their wings drape over your shoulders.
Their cooing and whooshing adds to, rather than breaks, the silence.

Your shoulders slump into their collective presence.
Your body drops into the canopy of their arms.
Here finally you have found shelter.
The ghosts, your comrades, will usher you home.
On the peak of the North Star, the owl will ensure the bravura of your crossing.

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Yermiyahu Ahron Taub

Yermiyahu Ahron Taub is the author of six books of poetry, including most recently A moyz tsvishn vakldike volkn-kratsers: geklibene Yidishe lider/A Mouse Among Tottering Skyscrapers: Selected Yiddish Poems (2017). Tsugreytndik zikh tsu tantsn: naye Yidishe lider/Preparing to Dance: New Yiddish songs, a CD of nine of his Yiddish poems set to music, was released on the Multikulti Project label (www.multikulti.com) in 2014...

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