Bewildering Stories

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On Returning to a Bristle Cone

Thomas R.

I went out for love
Which some called cash
My fate optioned for futures
Still she cried
She begged
Refusing to understand
Too young to know poverty
Too young to know anything else
But I knew she deserved more
All a father could give
So I gave the only item I had
My life
A life I felt would only doom her in this world
And that last summer I planted her a tree
Then began the journey
To worlds more strange then ever promised
Where mute monks guarded marble chambers
Or carnivals every night
Saw women live as dolls
Men live as cattle
I climbed mountains of pure emeralds
Descended canyons of indigo ice
Heard leaves that spoke like people
And people that sung like birds
I drank tea with enhanced porcupines
Played backgammon with group mind moles
Wore clothes of living minds
Learned from minds shaped like spun silk
And it all seemed empty
Without meaning or point
Home the only worthy quest
A forbidden dream no longer
And so returned despite the 5,000 years
Finding all lost as I feared
Yet strange turtle people remembered
They knew the way to home
Home of their mother my daughter
With the tree we once planted
One summer long ago

Copyright 2002 by Thomas R.