The air hangs still

The air hangs still as if in waiting. In the heavens,
wisps of blood-red cloud above the horizon,
pencil thin yet in their emaciation, troublesome,
authentic harbingers of a scene not right.
On the beaches
where waters ebb and flow with an oiliness of motion.
The sound of the waves muffled,
as though afraid of awakening some menace within
the dim reaches of their birth.
The sun hangs low in dull-red sky, its fierceness
of recent noon time blunted, the very edges of its shadows
unfocused, quivering in day’s remnant heat.
Birds, the least reticent of creatures around here,
are silent, conveying a lack of sound that is more ominous
than shrieks in fright could ever be. The knot of tension in my throat,
a lump that forms
when charged emotion steers my thoughts, racing like rivulets
down a rocky slope. My throat parched,
too dry to swallow, too taut to last,
till like an arrow unleashed from a marksman’s bow,
my soul returns and I hear, at first faint in the distance,
then increasingly closer as my mind stills,
the sound of children at play, a baby crying,
adults arguing over trifles, telling jokes to laughter
spilling from care-free throats,
and the flutter in my heart relaxes
to something approaching normal.
Another school day begins.

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