Les Berges du Rhône

In the sound of silence

Before the frost began to melt

He heard them coming, calling him

One by one them came, arched necks reaching high

Crying out

The ripples drew near

Painting geometric patterns on the still black deep.

Hands, chilled to the bone.

Shaking.

From the cold or from the gradual paralysis?

He didn’t know anymore

They always shook these days.

Drawing out the crusts of his bread

He splattered them onto the black canvas

Their proud heads dipped to squabble over the leftovers

Staining their pure feathers with shades of dull turquoise and browns.

He beckoned them closer with shaking fists

And more crumbs rained down

Landing like puddles.

They squawked.

As the ripple effect closed into the bank

He saw her.

Her wide, circular eyes. Turquoise.

He blinked.

She was gone.

The sun peeped out from the clouds

Only for a second

Enough for her long, golden locks to glimmer from the rocking of each wave.

His hand twitched.

More crumbs came plummeting down,

Storming over their feathers

Where he saw her again

Her deep white skin, magical like snow in the sunlight

As she danced in the rain

Catching all the raindrops in her bare hands

Because they were finally free.

Elegant and proud, their feathers whipped out as they climbed higher into the air

To catch the pieces before they were spoiled in the water.

He watched the swans.

And on cue

He turned

When he remembered

That it was all just a dream.

 

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