Edge of the River

by Steven Altman about a year ago in nature poetry


Edge of the River

Head bowed, knee touching ground. Hand gripping the dirt. He looks forward watching his sweat pool on the brown earth. Clumping and rolling together he follows it's path towards his foot. Knowing in this moment he has given all of his worth.

The struggle remains, bogged down by his mental chains that something is needed to push. His muscles depleted and his soul is needing a second wind, a push.

He grips the earth between his fingers clenching it into a ball. The ground is dry and dusty, dust clouds form and burst. The ground is cool in his hand, a contrast to the blazing sun over his head.

His heart thumping in his chest, muscles tighten and flexed. He feels the dull aches and pains of battle. A warm sensation forming down him. The rolling sweat as it beads his brow, falls and hits the ground.

He closes his eyes, picturing the ones he holds dear. Realizing his goal, why he is here. To serve and protect all of those he loves best. He has lived too long in servitude to stop now and be subdued. He hears the wind blow by him, the cries and shouts of beasts around him. Far enough away that he can't see, close enough to know they are slowly gaining. He has not fought this hard to wither and die, becoming a relic or finding a place in the sky.

He hardens himself and grits his teeth. Placing his hand upon his knee. He lifts himself back on to his feet, notices the slow dripping of blood at his feet. A sharp pain runs down his back hitting his hips and giving him a zap. It opens his eyes and brings him awake. But he feels his mind slowly begin to fade. He clenches both fists until they are white. Looks around and to his delight, sees the river running so blue, he staggers towards it hoping to make do.

As he bends down to see his reflection. Covered in dirt and blood a contrasted perception from the life that he knew before. Over time he had become something more. Through all the trials and tribulations he stood here willing to die under new values and perception.

He had lived bonded to the will of others. A mother, a wife, sisters and brothers. Shackled to people who held him as less, he was at a point they could not detest. He closed his eyes and saw all the relationships of his past. His boss, his friends and all the exes made up some of the cast. He had become a mat, a target something to hit. Wipe their feet on and toss him to the wind.

Over these past few years, he had become something more, a stranger to all that knew him before. Surprise had taken them as they learned more, he was no longer the man he was before. Dipping his hand into the river, he took a sip of the crystal river. Life had changed and unlocked something within him. He lived for others but this was different. Needing to change, to be a person not taking all the blame. He put in the work and sprouted his wings. He was now at a place he felt was engrained into his body each muscle of his frame.

He took another sip of water in hand. The animals sounded like an off key band. Closer they had come, it was now his time. He would die as the man he wanted and that was fine. He had achieved his goals and created a new world welcoming of a new life he had deserved. A loving wife, his kids all around. Respected by others for that he was proud. It was difficult to put in all the work. He grinded and toiled at night in the dirt. He came out better and with greater ease, cutting out the people toxic to his being.

The animals were near and he could hear them sneer. Ready to charge and devour him here. He closed his eyes and let himself fall, having hope in himself, his work and love for all.

nature poetry
Steven Altman
Steven Altman
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