To Tame Their Folklore

The stream underfoot feels suddenly too fast.
He trips on a stone that's tumbling
beneath the ancient current.
A trout darts under an outcropping of rock
but he doesn't bother to grasp for it.
Damn, he thinks. I'm getting too old for this.
The gray hairs on his calves
tingle at their roots in response to the water's chill
like the brown ones did
for centuries.

He's never understood
why humans have searched for him:
documentaries made, photos faked
entire lives devoted to evidence of his existence.
If his intellect could handle a Christ complex
he'd be wearing sandals in the forest.

It's been harder to sleep in caves and hollows.
The rabbits still run, but more out of pity.
He knows his time is coming;
only wants it to be quick
and without the flash of a camera.
A female peer was never encountered
but the wilderness kept him company
as best as nature can.

He lies down at the base of a massive hemlock
and would pray for the fate of Socrates
if reading were in his skill set.
His big feet rest atop the thickest root
as he stares at silver birds
that leave white streaks
in their wakes.

Where is mercy
when one needs it?

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