The shrouded woodland seems invaded
by the seeping mist leaving
not even an acre within my gaze.
Closely packed at attention
each tree in the barren stand
stares down to the fallen
which lie parallel, each to each,
submerged beneath the caustic fog,
half awash in flares of the retreating light.
If I were to move,
if I were to stir
within this moment’s stillness
they might forsake inertia.
Even their fallen comrades on the forest floor,
along with all the still standing
would in lock step be up and off,
vanishing behind the dark mask of evening.
I might fire out roots from under my feet
down deep into the earth,
shift the soil,
latch to the rocks,
lock my legs to ground,
and freeze fast,
as if petrified by Medusa.
Wind nudges the fog gently on down the hill
as if the approaching night itself were
forcing the darkness in and the vapors out.
I breathe a very small sigh, stir my numb toes,
teach my legs to move again, to slip away,
then whisper farewell to the fallen
and listen to hear what is whistled above me,
through the branches, in the frigid night.