Jean Baptiste Smillen

rainbow gas station

Life had been too precious. So, too, death. The former, life, was swum about like a fish in a bowl, never sure either of water, or of its own scales’ golden flash. The latter, death, is the one thing never owned, never possessed, never by my hands’ fingers grasped. I took a tour once in my foreign travels. Beggars, historians, and silent guards at museums revealed the same thing: cups that held coins, pages upon which events had been composed, and gilt frames holding masterpieces could only get so close to the things they held. But the thing itself, the dragonfly of being, had hovered aloof and almost at times indistinct over the surface of the pond, where it thereupon disappeared. Were I not to have been living and dying in my tiny cabin in the Rocky Mountains, I might happily and certainly have shared a glass of icy lemonade with a fellow traveler, with you. I might have clinked the rim of it, and have heard the tinkling of such guarded and discreet humanity. But that was not to be. Instead, I parted by myself one starry-skied night, by the blackened moon deposed, above the mountains’ purple majesty.

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