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An Ending An Ending
by Dr. Lawrence Nannery
2017-07-28 10:25:30
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An Ending

Once on the island, they never left it.

Mid-morning. Simple rowboat, the island in the middle of the lake.
Gently, they helped one another out of the boat.
Up through the scrubbrush, up to the top of the center hill,
where the big tree spread itself over all.
Graciously, they sat together under the great tree,
back to back, leaning on one another,
facing opposite ways, because what they were about to say
might be too strong for the eye of the listener to bear.

riv01_400The long-passing day, the Sun in the middle of the sky,
they retold story after story, reliving the life they had had,
revealing the familiar and the half-forgotten.
They shared a picnic, shared the shade,
and looked away as the words came,
holding in high diligence the diplomacy to remain silent
while the other spoke until done.
There was never a question or an answer…
Even forgiveness would be a sign of superiority.

They were alive to their event, its uniqueness.
Only these two mouths would say, only these ears hear.
For years they had breathed each other out an in,
but in this dual recreation, they found that they lived
in different world, and remembered everything differently,
but, definitely, they forbore to say
the negation, the denial, or protestation.

In solemn restrain they did not address one another
in this goodbye that required this finishing touching.

At length they grew tired, tired of feeling and tired of listening.
Time was up. They stayed quiet.
Then near sundown they were empty, and he said to her,
“Any more stories?” and she answered no,
and they rose up and closed the picnic basket and kissed
and whispered goodbye, and drank together the wine with the poison
and scanned the now-gray water,
and remarked on formations of birds flying into the black mountains,
behind which the setting Sun was leveling….

They were found days later, embracing under the early autumn air.

Folks know about this strange picnic,
this ever-so-sensible ending, where two noble trees
bent down their boughs in salute to one another
just before their mutual annihilation,
to avoid Mother Nature’s humiliations.

Grandmothers tell of it, especially to granddaughters.
And then they sigh, “how beautiful!” and look away,
envious of these partners parting.

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