It is a terrible thing to run dry, to be a man
caught out in the open under the great arcs
of light and darkness. In such places,
nothing but thirst will remind you of human desire;
nothing but the thought of God will recall your name.
I don’t know it. I can’t say where you came from
or where you dreamed you might be tomorrow.
I know only this step and not another.
The next step and none after that.
Turning back brings no more hope than pressing on.
There is no water here.
I don’t know why you came at all.
I have a beautiful song for you, don’t you understand?
No. You hear only Caw and Caw Caw, but that’s because
you don’t have ears. No fault of mine!
I can sing, fly, hop on the ground in the sun,
and tear apart those who have died.
My kind keeps things cleared away, and the song we have
is lovely because it knows the secret moments of a day.
The song contains time, and you can’t even take that
in your hands. It skips away and flutters, then it soars.
I have my ally: The wind comes to find me,
flying for a thousand miles. We are in love
but the wind cannot stay.
The rain when it comes feels wonderful to me.
There is so much to love in my world.
I believe I love the water most of all.
Everything wants to touch me, to hold and caress
and I feel strong. I reach up for God and He is there.
We die as we live, silently and in peace.
Even in death we do not fall, but wait for the wind
to circle round the world again and ease us down.
So I am not afraid of you.
My life is a dance of ten or fifteen years, and I love
to hear my voice ring out into the all-too-silent world.
You can say so much with your silence, like the wind,
but a dog is a turning leaf and a sound.
There is a long river of light when the day gets old
and I grow tired, thinking of my food and where I sleep.
I am not afraid because the pack is with me.
I do not rest alone.
But you will, Man, and it makes me sad.
I have seen our tracks in the dust up ahead,
where they go from many to few, to two then one.
Mine don’t go on very long, but I have no words to tell you this.
I could bring you thunder and rain without warning,
to rise and rush high in the scarred earth
and sate the dying filigree of trees.
But you would never ask Heaven for that.
A Terrible Thing by Kyle Kimberlin is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.