The water of the Moreau River,
as motionless as the leaves of the giant sycamore
half-submerged with roots projecting skyward,
victim of spring’s high waters but determined
to send nourishment to branches willing
those leaves to life, and as still as the air
on this hot August day as my kayak sits
under a stone ledge, too high for me to reach
when volume and current are stolen by the recent
lack of rain, still feels cool to the touch in this shade
I have found, shared by the bank swallows darting
to their nests and back into the sunlight, no breeze
needed for their aerial antics as they skim the water
for a drink, then rocket up, only to turn abruptly
to feed in flights that would make any bat proud,
all of this reflected in that still water of the Moreau.
I drift down the middle of the river, my paddle in the water only when necessary to navigate past hazards. And oh, are there hazards. Surrounded by the past, ablaze on the shores beside me and floating on the current that carries me, with little prospect for the future, my life is little more than the clothes on my back and as bleak as the landscape of death surrounding me.
Of what matter are the details that led to this tragic moment? One nation acted out of a desire to secure precious resources, another responded, and an Armageddon foretold through the ages has finally come to pass.
In the glow of the fires that surround me, everything is cloaked in the haze of smoke, and navigation becomes more difficult as dusk approaches. A red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills.
This bit of flash fiction is my response to Jazzing It up on Prosery Monday, presented by Lillian at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. With Prosery, the challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction with a 144-word limit. Included in the bit of prose is to be a complete line from a poem. For this prompt, the line to be included is “a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills” from Carl Sandburg’s “Jazz Fantasia”. My flash fiction also meets the additional challenge of hitting the 144-word mark, exactly. Other entries can be read here.