The March by Christina Murphy

December 17, 2012 Comments Off on The March by Christina Murphy

You march in the coldest of winters, your toes split open, spilling blood into the snow. Birds with large silver wings eat the snowy blood and fly by you into an arc of moonlight.

The moonlight is a temptress, leading you on, making you believe there was a way out, before vanishing into the pale snow.

Once, in a small café, you drank espresso, bitter and sweet, and dreamed of days ahead, so majestic, so magisterial, so unbounded by horizons or limits. You had those dreams once, those days. And you were never alone. Always your thoughts were of Maria — her soft lips, and the geraniums she grew in clay pots by her door. Why did she never invite you in? It was a mystery, because your eyes met and there was a connection.

If you call her name now, would she come to you? Would she find you in this dark, cold, blur of an existence?

It is possible that you are marching in a circle, returning to the start over and over again. There is no way to know, nothing to break the sense that the dark cold will never lift. At one point, you feel as if you are treading water in a deep sea and soon will drown, then, as if you are marching in the air and the moon is upside down.

Did Maria even exist, or was she part of a dream? Maria existed. Yes, she existed. She was more real than all the whiteness of the snow and the miles beyond what can be counted by a single lonely and terrified heart. The march is pointless.

You think of words to keep your mind from the pain. You hear voices now. Who is speaking? Is it you? It must be God. No, God would not care if you gave up. You are alone now in a way you never imagined. Could it really be this dark, this cold? Could the snow keep falling from infinity until you are buried so deep within it that you become only the snow and nothing more? Once, you loved music and danced. Could such silence ever be real? Is there nothing to hear? Nothing?

You are marching, you are falling, the ice under the soft snow is hard and piercing. If you had a soul, it would be ripped in half. If you believed in anything, you would cry out. You are numb, you are lost; you leave no trail, and you will never be found. The whiteness of death is blinding, and the endless cold fills your body with bitterness and defeat.

© 2012 Christina Murphy

Christina Murphy lives and writes in a 100 year-old Arts and Crafts style house along the Ohio River. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of journals and anthologies, including Word Riot, PANK, and the Marco Polo Arts Magazine: 100 x 100 Anthology.

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