At the Water's Edge
Poem by Andrew Peregrine

The land of dust is a sad strange place.
There are only the grey dunes, and the ashen coloured rocks.
The sun hangs low and clouded in the pale sky.
But the breeze is warm on my face.

He comes toward me with an outstretched hand.
He is wrapped in old ragged cloth.
It hangs about him, too much for his thin form.
I cannot see his face, the shroud conceals

I rise but do not take his hand.
He leads me, casting no print in the ash under our feet.
I cannot see where we are going.
As I look behind the wind has blown the dust.
I can recognise nothing of where I once was.

I feel heavy as I walk.
I take from my pockets the things that weigh me down.
Little things.
The watch my mother gave me.
My wallet and credit cards.
That lucky penny she gave me.
The pen I always carry but never use.

As I cast away these things they fall to the dust.
They sink beneath it's slow ripple.
The larger things remain, floating.
But they soon turn to dust and join the valley.
When everything is gone, I feel nothing.
I can no longer remember what I threw into the dust.
There is nothing to do but follow.

He leads me to a valley full of souls.
They come to me and lay their hands upon me.
They take my clothes.
But they are gentle like a shy lover.
They clothe me like themselves.
A simple robe of grey.

He watches,
and then he turns away to claim another.
I remember nothing.
Have I been here forever or a day ?
We wander the sand together,
the others and I.

After a time I come to notice a passage.
It is familiar to me,
but I know not why.
No other has seen it.
I enter, not from curiosity,
but because it is the right thing to do.

I emerge as nothing,
but I am new.
The valley of dust becomes a dream to me.
The last memory fades.
I am nothing, once again.
I scream because there is no longer language in me.
Please mother, tell me who I am.

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