I dreamed I lay half-looking, half-asleep
in an abandoned vulture nest, atop
a tree that rose above the jungle as
an oak that towers over waves of corn.

The sky was charged with stars and bats that streaked
across the morbid Moon. Sinister songs
of howler monkeys shook the humid air
like cries of those condemned to live in death.

And yet I heard twigs crackling down below
where leopards stalked their unsuspecting prey;
and yet I heard bark stretching, as the tree
patiently strained to lift me heavenward.

I felt the vines embrace my limbs, my breast
with tender softness of a lover's arms,
as minutes passed like years, and newborn stars
pulsed in the voids left by those that died.

I turned to face the west: I was as high
as silhouettes of snowcrowned summits which
loomed far away. I then looked to the east
and saw vast lowlands covered with a wet,
shimmering network of rivers and streams,
as if a web dewed by the coming dawn.

The air grew thin and cool - such was the height
the tree had brought me to. I felt the cold
cut through my skin and pour into my veins,
then rise like ice-flows up into my heart.
What I saw last looked like a comet's tail
spanning the breadth of heaven.

S. A. Oleksy

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