Beyond

by Nikki Anne Schmutz

I stride towards
the tower, steady
steps, eyes to the
ground. Never slowing
only pushing
until I reach
its base. I don’t
slow as I climb
the stairs – higher
and higher until
I am above the
reeds and the
mosquito infested
marsh – until
the stars stop
and I can go
no higher. But
I wish to go higher
still. Above this place
past this valley
over the clouds
that gently float
on breathable
air. Higher until
the blue fades
into black and
the earth below is
only shapes and
colors. Blue and green
and white. Higher
until there is no air
to breathe. No place
or way to use
my feet. No air to
fill my lungs. Nothing
left but the intense
solidarity. Until I am
no longer part
of the world. I am
free to float
away. Gasp my final
breath. Alone with
the universe to
finally become one
with the beautiful
and dark unknown.

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