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Narrow and Cramped is the Road

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Here I go
winding my way
down the path.

I enter the chasm of the two cliffs:
     my stony selves.
The right one like a mirror; highly polished
     the left one sharp and jagged.

Staring into the mirror
     I cannot discern just what I see;
     a man or an animal, I do not know.
     The cold dark rock-teeth I see in my background,
     littered with psychic vampire bats.

From a distance the void seemed wide.
For a fact the space is cramped;
     the walls nearly touch.

And once one enters,
     there is no retreat.
I wish that I had known this,
     before.

Death never comes in the ravine;
     except for the innocent ones.
You will find there
     impaled upon the craggy teeth and
     mashed into the dusty holes
     their reeking corpses with stupefied looks.

All manner of human and animal life can be found there.
Their only transgression, it seems,
     is to have ventured where they ought not.
And yet how could they have known
     how treacherous the course would be?

Many more will hazard the place, I suppose,
     never again to see Day’s liberating brilliance,
     or to know his warming touch and fresh atmosphere.
Many of them I do not yet know
     but they shall know me.

Theirs will be the dark and dingy
     dungeon of Narcissus.
They will surely pay the price
     for their inferiority.

Oh, that I could warn them!
Yes, warn them!
Why should any suffer an awful fate?
The course of uprightness and love
     is to deliver them from this
     accursed place:
     emotional mummification.

But this crevasse is like no other.
The façade is beautiful;
     shiny and inviting.
One even thinks, though nothing is promised,
     that he sees a dazzling luminescence
     deep in the valley.

How the alligator snapper lures them!
His lifeless eyes peer into the murkiness
     of his brackish home
     his mouth propped open
     his pink tongue promising
     a delightful meal.

If those defenseless victims would only flee.
If their foresight were better; more discerning,
     then they would look deeply into the belly of the predator
     they would see the fates of the others;
     partially digested, their grimaced faces last to go.

How wonderful, crafty, and positively evil;
     that turtle!
Those dupes come of their own accord,
     they deserve their fate.
First let them suffer a while as we, the predators, have done so.
It will be well enough for them to die,
     at least they will know an end to their pain.

In fact, they ought to feel honored.
Yes, honored to have been part of such a grand scheme,
     to be the object for which the trap is set.
I will invite them by the hundreds, no; thousands.

Seeing as how my life is eternal in this foggy and filthy hellhole,
     they too shall drink the cup, by God!
Then they will know, then they will understand.
God damn them all, every last one.

Looking once again to my right,
I see my reflection gazing back at me:
“You ’re a good looking man, a fine specimen.
Extremely intelligent, too.  Who could not find you
     completely charming and likeable?
Mirror, I love that you always show me what I want.”

At this point I don my robe of sheep’s covering
     and look to my left:
“Aren’t my wall treatments delightful, friends?”
A chorus of approving chirps erupts from the winged mammals.
“I thought so.”

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