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April 2014, vol 10, no 1

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Jennifer Rosenberry

Hidden Stream

It’s been six months since I visited the hidden stream. The air was warm then, April-moist and hopeful. The oaks painted themselves lime green with fragile new leaves. Jack-in-the-pulpits shot skywards, competing for sunlight that would grow dimmer as the pale leaves grew larger and darker.

Perfect logic. Perfect order. I was pleased with its simplicity. vAnd then, faintly, I heard water.

Surprised and delighted, I ran towards the sound – tripping in the process and receiving a face full of dirt. I pulled myself out of the leaves and shot over the slight hill that confined the invisible stream. Its waters both plinked like broken shards of glass and burbled like a stew in a cauldron.

As I picked my way through mud and spongy twigs, I was at a loss to find the source of the burbling. The stream smelled acidic yet was transparent. It was tinted brown by centuries of decaying oak leaves. I felt like I was like looking through a shimmery brown bottle.

I had to place my hand in the icy stream.

Two feet away, a delicate arm rested in the water. It was unearthly pale, shedding vanilla-white fur. Strings of tissue waved from its shoulder like seaweed.

And still the water plinked and burbled onward.

What distant logic
chills these exquisite fingers?
Cold Nature beckons