cypress trees emerging from a lake's waters

It begins with the bald cypress bursting from the moss and water.

Somewhere invisible the tentacles of root become a single rough trunk.

Its knees are supplicants, wading to or away from their barked deity I cannot say.

The water still laps at the rocks, slowly smoothing them, the wake of some dark thing that passed unseen.

The darkness is the immortal, the thing that’s always been.

It came before and will long outlast even the stars falling into the water.

So let’s say you capture all of this.

Let’s say you become known as the painter of dark, each canvas more inscrutable and desirable than the last.

And someone buys and loses your final masterpiece, the one you finish just before you close your eyes for the last time, just before you struggle and fail to find some profound final words.

And then it’s found, decades later, at a rummage sale.

Someone buys it for the frame but decides to keep the painting rolled up in the spare room that never brightened into a nursery.

And more time passes (it doesn’t really matter how much).

And then a fat, florid estate-sale bargain hunter buys it for the proverbial song and makes a big splash on Antiques Roadshow, which she wasn’t even gonna bother with but she just had a feeling.

And the linen-suited expert says he’d insure the piece, conservatively, at somewhere between the wholesale value of Daisy’s voice full of money and the chance to see your long-dead father one more time.

And you wonder, from somewhere without walls, where it never gets dark, how you can get one of these visiting gigs because among the many things you haven’t heard since you watched your body shrink and disappear into its own spark is how to get out of this photonic loam, for even a little bit.

You’d like to spend one more night on the bank next to the tree.

This time you wouldn’t fall asleep or even close your eyes.

This time you’d catch the dark that moves through the dark.

Blinking at the spectrum-stuffing lights in the convention center the bargain hunter tries to look like she’s not planning to sell the painting as soon as she can.

And the sky wheels on the water, touching everything everywhere.

[Featured image by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash]
[Written in 2016 as part of a 2xl project]