This Patient Madness

This was the hollow dark of her sunken eye sockets rising out of the reflection in the swamp waters. Forget the legends of what lived in the swamps. Forget the countless casualties of hapless tourists floating around in her imagination.

Forget the warnings and the tell tale signs of danger. There are the crocodiles who feast on terror, the men who do not forgive, the husbands who spring upon her with shackles and keys, leeches of gossip, the anacondas as ancient as her birth and who seem to drift in wait all around the rippling river that laps up against her ribs the deeper and deeper she goes. Yes forget all of those comparatively tiny traps.

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She will venture forward and remember this patient madness older than her ability to remember whence it began. It has simply always been there. The frantic sun tries desperately to touch her cheek through the whispers of spanish moss, through the anguish and the ache of bald cypress as it teams to ensnare her in wondrous shady illness. The sunlight kisses her cold cheek and impossibly, he dances upon the tips of her eyelash before being beaten back with a furious splash! "Please! no more sunlight today!", cries she. And he retreats back into his cloud, dimmed, and confused.

Here is respite from his unflappable generosity. Here is the end, adrift in the emerald algae and everything beyond what has been taught to her. Here is something truly new. Deeper and deeper she goes. The shaded still-water grows warmer and warmer. Wall of twilight sound chirps, and rabbits, louder and louder. This- this thing here. This is the Rage. And when the rage has had its fill of her- then the standing river will have its turn.

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The entire wetland will drink a single teardrop of hers. And may it feel as replenished as she feels exhausted. It will be the reward she feverishly hoped for as she flung her clothes about the twisted cypress. Her pent up pain will go the way of her hyperventilation as it subsided upon her best foot shattering the river's muddy surface. And she was enveloped by giggling swamp water until her unruly dark curls were absorbing the stuff- choking out the giggles in unholy wetness, becoming as black her thoughts.

Already, those were all moments.

And now- they were memories.

Just like her life's Rage. And now that was gone too.

And there was only the sound of the distant loon...