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  • There's no one here. I am alone.

    My virgin nose resists penetration
    by invisible dust of boot-crunched leaves
    desiccated from monsoonless seasons past.

    I find proof that beauty can transport:
    two brown leather Wolverine boots, tanned inside
    from sweat of many miles trekked,

    Heel and sole tread worn smooth by rocks and roots.
    One boot wedged in crotch of live oak,
    its mate fallen sideways on the path,

    as if the hiker took one last step
    and launched into the next dimension,
    two boots the only evidence of his existence.

    I pause to ponder, turn round and round,
    look for movement in the shadows,
    listen for footfalls of that other hiker,

    Surrounded by empty air quiet with forest odors --
    jasmine flirts with raspy tin of river water,
    profound black rimmed with shallow amber

    as seductive as Irish red micro brew.
    Still water reflects perfect spruce and cumulous,
    sharp images sometimes blurred in dimpled eddies.

    Unfathomable depths of gentle delicate decay
    muffle every footfall under sighing song of longleaf pine
    and carillon of Suwannee River.

    There's no one here. I am alone.
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