Listen in the dark, and follow
where my voice leads on, away,
through the woods beyond the hollow
where the cheerful sparrows play
on into the mist that thickens
where the Spanish moss hangs low
on the spreading live oak branches
as we pass, silent, below.

Here the sun makes no impression,
for the canopy is thick;
mossy roots criss-cross the pathway,
mute our footsteps; here, the trick
is to remember without seeing,
gauge by sense of smell and touch,
so that if you feel like fleeing,
you cannot reveal too much.

Listen, can you hear the whisper
of the almost stagnant breeze,
like the faintly fading flicker
of a hair bent on your knee?
Your own breathing now is heavy,
louder than the crunch of leaves,
than the slow lap of the levee
echoing the distant seas.

Listen in the dark, and follow
where my voice is almost gone;
feel your face find the cool hollow
in the air it lingers on.
Listen for the fading footsteps
that leave no trace on the ground,
only soft and silent shadows,
memories lost to sylvan sound.

23 JUL 2005

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