I Am That Which Rustles the Leaves

I

The rain falls on and still, I stand,

As droplets trickle down my nose.

I waver on with hat in hand,

From outside in, the orange glows.

I linger, watch, where no one knows,

With heavy sigh and mournful heave.

I never come and never go,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

The dampness rises from my feet,

Socks, cloth and soul are now soaked through.

I should go knock, go up and meet,

Yet I do not, my world is blue.

The thunder rolls as if on cue,

There is no safety under eaves.

I’m out here, oh, if they knew,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

There is a sniffle in my head,

Cracked mucal membranes, sore and dry.

The quacks would send me off to bed,

But I must watch, alone am I.

To claim content would be to lie,

As wind whips up from gentle breeze.

Those would say that I must try,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

To see me sodden, some ask, “Why?”

My lungs they ache, my breaths they wheeze.

I must watch, unscared to die,

I am that which rustles the leaves.


II

I start to shiver, start to cough,

An icicle through my core grows.

Saliva, blood, at my mouth froth,

A numbness spreads up from my toes.

In trees above caw three black crows,

And when I fall my flesh they’ll thieve.

I am enshrouded in my woe,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

All the world around me sways,

Yet I cling on to window sill.

The sights I hold on in my haze,

The happy people have their fill.

Vicarious, drink their goodwill

As snot-caked tissues clog my sleeves.

My worn-out heart lets out a trill,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

It draws in close, I’m in the fade,

To slip away I do not fear.

Into Death’s pool, I gladly wade,

His bony hands and scythe draw near.

Oh please, Spectre, lend me your ear,

To be released it would relieve.

I do profess His name’s been smeared,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

Time now pierce my skin with spear

And black tendrils around me weave.

So, here suspended in my tears,

I am that which rustles the leaves.


III

I start to fall, I start to rise,

From Earthly body now depart.

I soon will learn which priests were wise,

If Up or Down, the trip shall start.

My corpse upon a plague-filled cart,

But I remain — I’ve been deceived.

I possess no astral chart,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

“No, please don’t go!” I shout full-force,

Yet cart slows not its morbid trip.

I cannot halt its fateful course,

Away from grasp, my vessel slips.

But where oh where is my ghost ship?

In post-death justice, disbelieve.

From Earthbound realms, I beg be ripped,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

And then it’s gone, body has left,

And hopes of moving on do dwindle.

Physical form, I’m now bereft,

This mortal life is but a swindle.

Not recycled on Life’s spindle,

Reaper leaves me unretrieved.

Rain drowns out my faith’s rekindle,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

Are more like me? Thoughts start to tingle,

The notion in mind is conceived.

Amongst dead friends, I’d like to mingle,

I am that which rustles the leaves.


IV

For the first time in quite an age,

I elect to leave my post.

I wave to strangers not engaged,

Translucent hands, I raise a toast.

“Enjoy it well, those you love most,”

I say it sans anger or peeve.

I send regards, unwitting hosts,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

So, now unbound, off I will stroll,

Cobbles beneath, my feet don’t feel.

I go in search of a kind soul,

At friendship’s altar, I will kneel.

Soon to restore red, green, gold, teal,

Away from window, here I leave.

But oh — a wall! I loose a squeal,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

I bounce away, rebound from nought,

And plop to ground with tiny yelp.

Within a web, my spirit caught,

Is there no one to offer help?

My soul is left to drift like kelp,

Heaven and Hell, infernal tease.

Smite me now if I dare chelp,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

Otherworldly, but a whelp,

A dot, a cell, I’m just disease.

If I blaspheme, by all means, skelp,

I am that which rustles the leaves.


V

The rain falls on and still, I stand,

But no droplets form on my nose.

I waver on, ghost hat in hand,

There is no warmth, no orange glow.

I linger on but no one knows,

With heavy sigh and mournful heave.

I never come and never go,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

I feel no damp rise from my feet,

Only my soul is now soaked through.

I cannot knock, can never meet,

My world is dark — sad grey and blue.

The thunder rolls, once more on cue,

And rain’s cool grip finds me ‘neath eaves.

I died out here, they never knew,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

A haunted echo in my head

That has repeated since I died.

I should lie down upon deathbed,

Upon the storm, should surely ride.

The world rotates, pulls ocean’s tides,

Spring flowers sprout, leaves fall from trees.

A condemned soul, I must reside,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

Forever I must stand outside,

With nobody to mourn or grieve.

To watch alone is how I died,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

I linger, watch, where no one knows,

With heavy sigh and mournful heave.

I never come and never go,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

I linger, watch, where no one knows,

With heavy sigh and mournful heave.

I never come and never go,

I am that which rustles the leaves.

With heavy sigh and mournful heave,

I am that which rustles the leaves.


28th October 2020

Written for Reedsy’s Weekly Writing Contest

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