Suddenly, the protagonist
becomes aware of a profound
and stifling presence.
The days ahead are marked
with the signifiers of a doubt,
while the past takes for itself
the vestments of schadenfreude.
Inhaling, the protagonist steps through
a door, a heavy wooden sentinel.
The door is a symbol, but what
it represents is not known to him,
and consequently,
since this is a first person narrative,
neither is it known to the reader.
The protagonist steps through
the door, and into the murky bosom
of a great forest. A sentient wind
cackles and wraps him in tender
fetters cementing a state
of servitude. As the protagonist
knows that servitude is not
humanity’s desire nor its destiny,
be it to duty or creeds
or other people, he assumes
a rebellious attitude and expresses
this attitude as a muted prayer.
The reader either agrees
with this course of action
or else is overcome with frustration,
whose onset is like the ripples
on a pond’s surface where
a pebble has grazed.
The protagonist, discovering
that prayer is futile, breaks down
in tears, and the tears fall upon
the desolate ground, leaving cracks
in their wake, cracks which blossom
into rifts. It is as if by the sheer force
of the protagonist’s despair,
the very world that authorized
such bondage is being destroyed.
After all, does such a world
of which slavery is a part
have any right to exist?
As the empty space once occupied
by a world overwhelms the protagonist,
this despair over the idea
of permanent servitude flees,
and in its place, a peace arises,
a deep and fevered peace.
Falling into an endless nothingness,
the protagonist is at peace
for those final few moments
before being swallowed up
by that very nothingness.
And the reader, likewise…

-r. miller

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