Last Steppes

Clouds cover the evening sun, smother it, choke its light to thunderous darkness.

Rising wind sings a dirge over the sere landscape, whipping the sparse, bare trees tied to the ground through sheer determination.

I chant my song in a whisper, and the steppe wolves answer with yips and howls, and the notes blend and greet each other in mourning.

The lonely cries of strange birds respond to the call, and fill the empty spaces where there’s no room for even mournful music.

The stars form a chain around my spirit, the moon a metal ball around my heart.

I will not wander this land again, and fall to my knees in anguished relief as the scavengers gather, their eyes feverish for my flesh.

My soul will rest in the clouds.

The sound of rushing waters fills my ears, as my eyes run with the last of hot tears that freeze in the evening air.

A bare, stooped, and twisted tree provides rest for my back, and greets me as a brother whipped by the cords of a lonely, battered life.

There is nothing left.

There is no one here to see me die.

There is no one here to witness that I ever lived.

Free me, I pray.

My consciousness slithers down the branches of my bones, and out across the rocky soil.

And as a final blessing, the snow falls, gently at first, then gathering strength and speed.

It covers my tattered rags that were once clothes, whisks away the smell of my living rot.

I close my eyes, and naked oblivion spreads her legs, opens her arms, and bids me to lie with her.

If I could, I would run to her, but I walk; she is a patient lover, smug in the certainty that I am hers.

I give myself over completely, the fire of life grows dim on the other side as she embraces me.

Her smile is as dark as her purpose.

Welcome home, my love.

We kiss.

I die.

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