Slog

My hands are clenched in icy blocks
in the predawn rain, treading old paths and byways
a cigarette dangles loose from my blued lips
and smoke wisps in the frigid air like a departed soul
I am 140 pounds clothed and soaked
and the gusts cut deep to my bones
where the flesh has melted away
I am a shadow of myself, but my shadow no longer tracks me
on this darkened road
My hair drips wet down my face, washing away
traces of the morning battlefield
feeling like the thin white duke on desolation row
destitute of meaning under drizzled sky
My pace is random, I light another smoke
a cough, an indrawn breath of wet smoke and cold air
searing at lungs still expanding and contracting
in autonomic regularity
My heart a drum of arbitrary beat
giving rhythm to a wordless song
words rush through my seething mind
more torrential than the downpour in which my feet march
I will forget them all before I get home
washed away by the rain I leak or that falling deluge
I want to float away in the icy waters of the swift creek
to be absolved of my sins or responsibilities
to forget forever the numbing agonies
and delighted ecstasies of a world gone awry
A fresh cigarette finds its way to my trembling lips
I turn and trudge for home

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