It crawled along the ground away from the man
Twisting and straining it strove to follow the pacing maintained by its reflection
Too often the man moved swiftly
And the shadow was confused.
Stopping and starting; devoted its energy
To maintaining form and balance.
The shadow rested as the man stopped
Staring off into space the shadow stretched with the man's effort to see the horizon.
"See him yet?"
Alert; the shadow took in another form.
The round hat only coming up to the shoulder of the searching man.
Stretching, it moved to accommodate both men.
Diving to its left it now worked to reflect the movements and attitudes of the figures
"He'll be here."
"Maybe. Better be."
Both figures still for the moment; the shadow resting in the late afternoon light.
Aroused from its dozing, the shadow followed a noise moving over the boardwalk.
Sighing it spread to take in two more forms.
Big this time, shoulders used to heavy labor; another with long thin fingers stabbing the air.
One carried a Bible; the other a knife honed
As one the men turned and the shadow followed
"Four maybe five hours."
The shadow grew to five and began to loose its lean graceful curve.
"He's just out breathing mountain air"
The shadow tipped its hat at the woman passing by.
"Air around here ain't bad."
Shadow rocked as the round hat poked the mustached form
Laboring along, the large shadow edging the boardwalk
Its dark form constantly changing plans.
Heading toward the sun shadow of the saloon; the form crawled toward relief
"You all gonna drag more dirt around the streets?"
Creeping up the boardwalk the shadow took in the formal jacket and the constantly moving deck of cards
The shadow pulled back as all six forms merged into one
As if made of gel; the form spread and reformed again and again.
Following the group, shadow saw relief in the form of a falling evening sun.
The lean form stretched out of the shadow seeing him first.
Round hat jumped up as shadow scurried to follow.
"There! See him? There!"
Shadow became lean and followed the way.
Happy for the setting sun; shadow lost strength
No longer able to encompass the merging mass
It turned its energy to horse and man.
Riding low; the hat pulled down
The mass merged with the horse and rider
Laughter and brotherly love now taking shadow's place
"I reckon." The last thing the shadow heard as the sun set beyond the horizon.
Comments: Kathy Teresa