The Cave

He looks to the left.

He looks to the right.

He has been carrying the tree all night.

No one’s in sight.

It is just him.

Nevertheless, he checks again.

Then dips into the opening.

Deeper and deeper he goes.

Into the cave.

That is his home.

He enters a voluminous room.

A fire is smoldering.

There is an aperture in the vaulted ceiling.

Languid smoke leaves.

Moon beams stream in.

Spotlight the floor.

He sweeps his foot in and out of their less than perfect circle.

Clears debris from a shallow cavity.

Drops to his knees.

Slowly bows down with the tree.

Its rootball sits atop his shoulder.

Still connected to his sleeve.

They come together in intimate proximity.

Root tips reach.

Touch his cheek.

Stroke it lovingly.

He closes his eyes.

Feels inklings on his back and sides.

He is safe.

He is placed.

He lets himself feel these feelings for less than a moment.

And, then.

He feels the need to flee.

The tree’s stroking of his cheek.

Leaves behind burning lines of acidity.

He cannot accept affectionate physicality.

He does not like it when others give him this thing.

They cannot give him this thing.

They can give him other things.

Not this thing.

Things have been done to him by those who have given him this thing.

It is a secret that he keeps.

It sits inside of him.

Secretes a black phlegm.

Lining everything.

Dare to share.

He breaks his oath.

The roles are reversed.

He’s in the wrong.

He should just move on.

They were doing their best.

Just recycling what happened to them.

He should feel compassion.

Not revenge.

Why tell anyone else?

They no longer do it.

It would only harm them.

And, haven’t they been harmed enough?

But, it still hurts.

Get over it.

Tar bubbles.

Coats his vocal chords.

Keeps them from vibrating.

Not knowing how to tell.

Makes him feel like a liar.

Something he does not want to be.

So, he keeps his distance.

Stands apart.

Stays remote.

Does not let others get close.

And, this tree is too close.

He wants his space.

Needs to separate.

But, the roots are too many.

Run too deep.

He grabs his spade.

Hacks away.

He promised himself.

No one.

Ever again.

Gets to hold him.

NotĀ unless he initiates.

Dictates the duration of any embrace.

He decides when it is time to pull away.

He severs the root ball from his sleeve.

It falls into the shallow cavity.

The tree leans to the left.

Like it was when he first found it.

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