I leave the mud on the soles of my boots and step into the stream, not hesitating or wishing for anything in particular—except, perhaps, for the feeling of water surrounding me. leaves, yellow and pale, drift on the currents around my ankles, their anchors left far behind. I try not to lose my footing on the loose pebbles. there is nothing to hold onto except my slippery breath. the quavering waters slip past me and lift me off my feet. almost. I look down and watch the water striders, their legs as thin as spiderwebs, always reaching out for something elusive, something just out of reach. they grab for my boot laces, which trail in the stream like loose thoughts, but thoughts are elusive and just out of reach. the bugs are carried downstream, yet they never stop reaching.
I can only wonder. I can only stand in these colorless waters and stare around me—at the sparrow tucked away in the thicket, at the speckled fish waiting by the banks for winter to put them to sleep, at the group of spruces leaning against a decaying oak, at the cardinal that is almost ready to burst into flame and set the forest on fire—and hold my silken breath before it escapes me and drifts away with the stream.
Ben has been dabbling in poetry for the past seven years and has work published in St. Cloud State University’s Upper Mississippi Harvest (2018, 2016, 2015), Kaleidoscope (2017, 2016, 2015), and Penn State’s The Dangling Modifier. He lives in a rural town encircled by corn and soy fields in South-Central Minnesota. As of now, he is writing a middle-grade fantasy novel.