The Black Fog
Lori R. Lopez
A fog thick and umbral settled
A wave of night in afternoon, clammy
Opaque as a New Moon, hooding my face
Vision clouded, I fumbled through haze
Baffled by a dreary dismal expanse, lost
Within coalish gauze, my world gone
Of an instant, an empty starless void
All I had known and believed to be true
Swallowed in the dead of day
I flailed my arms to clear the air
As if encompassed by swarming Gnats
A teeming halo of Fruit Flies
Yet clarity staunch and grim eluded —
The light’s embrace danced out of reach
Familiar ground the faintest memory
A candle’s flicker in the distant nocturne
Far from any shore, engulfed by a dry sea
I waded obscurity, convinced
There had to be an end, like exiting
A Cornfield Maze and tasting sun
Where had this mantle, this abysmal
Dusk stolen from? Which breeze pushed it
Here — flung the nebulous veil to
Blanket my circumference in a shroud?
What did the roiling accumulation seek?
There were no demands, only a filmy
Persistence. An inky consistency
I could not discern a purpose to the
Presence, a motivation for collecting, for
Traveling to envelop me as if I were
Distinct, somebody special. Or unfortunate.
Depending on the point of view; mine was
Bleak. I had lost my outlook. Not even
Confucius could edify, elucidate, enlighten
My disadvantage amidst the murk
Dour and caliginous. A mind eclipse
Shading, infiltrating. Yes! I felt it
Probing, prodding, slithering up my nose!
A tendril, a tentacle, snaking inside my
Head! How could I keep it out, prevent the
Intrusion? I was being invaded by mist
Examined for some arcane intent. To determine
Health? Suitability? Compatibility? Was the
Pithy substance alien, abducting me in place?
A demon, endeavoring to possess?
An agent of Nature? A primeval guardian?
Dredged out of a pit; vented to settle a score
Picking a random target. Heaping the blame for
Miseries, damages wrought by menkind, on a single
Poor soul. Me! The notion caused my pulse to
Throb — irate passion to churn and froth
Rejecting, ejecting the Black Fog from pores
Nostrils and ears spilled muddiness
Spewed the tenebral uncivilized smoke
Uncouth vapors wove together, channeled
To a current: encircling, orbiting, obstructing
Forming a barrier. Still I was trapped, walled
Confined. My freedom and passage suspended
Where would it end? Why was it happening?
Did Time stop too, or was I doomed to
Wither and cease existing, unable to escape
The madness of a storm-cast day?
I had always loved inclement skies
Perhaps deep down I wanted this . . .
Or was it simply a matter of luck, a personal
Cocoon of foul weather, dense as linen?
Profoundly humbled, I wept at the isolation
What seemed my darkest hour abruptly
Illuminated; around me flowed Constellations,
Planets, the Cosmos. Perspective shaped
My perception. I was no longer alone
But part of a grand universal scheme
Connected to everyone, everything!
Greater than a single speck, immeasurably
Important, yet concerns that weighed so
Cumbrously dissolved from one moment to the
Next. Intense emotions that had driven me
To act rather than feel, react rather than think
Fizzled to impermanent dust then faded
My dim sight unfolded. A somber gloom
Evaporated; I blinked at the world
With fresh eyes.