Rip Van Winkle by Gretchen Hill

when he comes down from the mountain 
he cannot wring the darkness 
from his body twenty years gone and now 
a kaleidoscope of shadows 
fluttering through the silent house
a cello string keens 
in the basement of his days
friends arrive with faces like outdated maps 
he is often lost 
stumbling through the trees 
of growing darkness 
his breath curls 
into the howl of wolves
he never meant to vanish 
from his own life 
never meant to be a stone 
cutting the skin of the river
in the evenings he studies the family photos 
the house fills with a frantic beating of wings 
when he goes to the cemetery 
to speak with his dead wife 
the words are moths 
that clot his throat
he leaves a stone for her 
so she will know he came 
it is a long way back 
he wonders if he will ever make it home
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