Echo- Natalie Madden

For years, when she walked, the ground did not crunch or thump.
Sometimes her feet would make the ground sigh
As she followed behind another’s thud, scrape or splash.
No sound would come from her throat as if she had no voice,
Save for the faint whisper that would follow another’s speech like an echo.
She haunted the forest like a reverberation.
At night when the rain came she would shelter in a cavern
the thundering slap of the water would fill the spaces as if nothing was there.
On the days when the wind moved strong like a forceful hand she would not be pushed or pulled;
Her being posed no resistance.

When she first saw him it was his beauty that struck her
And she was not strong enough to look away.
The longer she watched him, she saw that the wind danced around him,
The trees bowed to him,
The daisies that her feet could not crush strain their necks to face him.
He was looking at the pond the water danced on his reflection.
When he touched it, the droplets kissed his flesh.
She wanted to know if the cavern would sing to him,
Sing to him the way she could not;
But the sky darkened, and the rain came, and he did not move.
She sat in the deluge, drowning in the exquisite pain
Of seeing droplets slow to glide over him,
To see the wind bend to embrace him,
The trees sag to shelter him,
The thunder soften to comfort him.
The beauty of the reflection meant little to her, now that she saw that
Simply being could mean so much.

She does not care to remember how long she spent watching him,
How many whimpers and gasps he drew from her.
The only voice he heard was his own.
Now when she sees him transfixed by that pond, she wants to be that dancing reflection.
When she tries to touch it, it swims away,
Swarms around her finger, reforms when she withdraws.
She wants to be haunted by his shadow,
Wants someone to speak her words,
Her voice to ring out and return so it cannot be forgotten.
She repeats to herself, over and over:

“I will not be somebody’s echo
I will not be the one looking down
I am looking for myself at the bottom
But I will not be the one to drown
Drown, drown yourself in me.”

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