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The Forest Rounding Heaven

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On my way to heaven,

I walked into a clearing in

The dark and then heard

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Music and saw shapes of

Beings gathered; then the

Clearing shone with

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Silver, moonlight having

Cleared away, it seemed, some

Heaviness in clouds;

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Then I saw they were in

Front of me, why, animals

Of all kinds: some playing

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Instruments, the rest stepping

Freely, animated as I

Perceived by the zeal of

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Knowing they were free of

Hunger and the need to

Watch over their shoulders

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One came up to me, a

Raccoon who knew my

Language and must have

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Noticed both my wonder

And confusion—“Hello

And welcome,” said the creature,

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“We are here at last, aren’t

We?” then she or he said more,

“No longer do we have

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To eat the best we find

In trash, and we don’t have to

Worry about predators

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Or mischief from your class,

Sorry for offending”—opening

Arms to the circle,

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All the groups in pairs and

Threes and fours inside, “Please

Join us in the dance;

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Don’t worry, none of us is good

At this”;  I saw all the turns

Taken awkwardly,

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Squirrels twirling atop

Badgers, dogs embracing

Mountain lions, hares with

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Other hares, with wolves

As well; I didn’t know

How long it would take

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For all of them to tire–but

I had to move along,

Which after tries at stepping

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To magic tunes and dancing

Without shoes, I did;

I walked farther and further

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On toward what heaven

Might have for me—for

My kind and one by one

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C L Couch

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Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

Driving through the Laguna mountains as the sun rose in deep fog. This little glen had a mysterious and quiet feel to it.

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