They stood as cranes would, ankle deep, along the bank of wake and sleep, where one step in meant muck and mire, and one step back meant burning fire. With shoulders faced away from shore they paused to hear the blazing roar, saw heat and flame obscure their path; the way out razed by fire’s wrath. They turned back now, hands warm and pink, knelt on wet ground and tried to drink, but backs were scorched and paths laid out, the sea, the grey, was now their route. Onward they swam with purpose clear, the crackling trees too far to hear. Submerging hands as color drained, and only purest white remained, their burns became a distant past, as leaden sea and mist held fast. In coming tide they soon found rest, slipping between the trough and crest. The water here was dark and deep, and waves soon eased them into sleep. I watched as waves took you, asleep.
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