Return: words in brief

You return to the edge of the river after a long absence.

Who can tell how long it took you to bring yourself back,

what arduous roads you traveled,

how you ever found the strength

to return.

Here, at the edge between earth and water,

you are not yet ready.

Your mouth is dry, you can’t form the words

you will need to speak;

you can’t materialize them out your sand-stale lips.

They slip, slide away from you, deconstruct on your tongue,

like your body’s parched skin, peeling, sloughing off, flaking.

Your soul is similarly cracked: fragile, shaken, fluttering.

Wait! You can’t plunge right in,

the shock of it would slay you.

You can only dip – a toe, a finger,

let your long hairs dangle gently,

testing the straw-stale tips of them, testing, testing …

Let yourself breathe in the moisture condensing around you,

let your lungs adapt, your fingertips first understand

the coolness of water.

Slithering, moving like one who has not yet learned to walk unaided,

like a being who has yet to grow limbs

or no longer needs them,

you let yourself slip forward,

towards the deep dark blue of it,

slowly, slowly …

From 100 Words: The Beauty of Brevity. Word prompt: return.

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