A Gorilla in the Mist
By Paulette Callen
A gorilla stands waiting in the mist.
He is content to wait a long time.
His name . . . unassuming — from a damaged finger;
a shy and gentle being who died
with great courage, alone, amid savagery, fighting for his family;
and for him,
the woman on the mountain grieved and caused a thoughtless world
to take note and mark her passing.
She too died, in a way, alone, fighting for her family amid savagery.
The Cree Indians say that when a human being dies,
the soul must stand within a circle of animals —
all those one has abused, or killed without need and without respect —
in the misty land of the dead, and woe be unto that soul!
It is also said by those who have died and come back that there is,
a moving toward a great LIGHT,
and that along the way one encounters helpers
who comfort and encourage us on his journey.
The woman on the mountain . . .
when her turn came . . .
There would have been no circle of animal judges to try her.
She moves toward the LIGHT.
And out of the mists steps forth one to meet her.
The one she called Digit.
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