Spanish Moss

Back home I’d always see the tall oak trees muddled with Spanish Moss.

To the passersby they added to the charm of the city-

 a certain southern appeal

To me they fed an uneasiness deep within-

an instinctual dread

Seeing the clusters hang like strange fruit from the strong outstretched branches.

They, having been worn ragged from the weight of their station.

On occasion, the breeze would breathe life into the treetops

Gray and gaunt they’d sway like specters through the air

When the summer storms would come,

 I’d return to see them littering the pavement, having finally fallen to earth .

Still, their fibrous form loomed over every moment of our days haunting the place we called home

Their appearance, a bouquet for every headstone denied,

A marker for each soul lost in an institution most peculiar.

But I’ve learned not to dread them

Preferring instead to offer a tacit respect For the guardians yet remaining

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