The Fifth Man

Nearing the completion
of a task I found tedious
I looked up to see
five men
at various distances
from me.

One
looked sad.
He’d found
what it was
he sought
but was unprepared
for that outcome
that finality.

The second
wore a look of confusion
gazing past me
at something
I thought about
turning to see.

The third
was bent over
nearly double
attempting to reach
for something
near his feet.

The fourth
was in the middle
of a shout.
His mouth was twisted in the shape
of a demand.
Without volume
he would resemble
a great beast
(to me the minotaur)
gnashing his teeth
making his presence
fully known.

The fifth
was staring
directly at me.
He had the look
of an aged predator
far past his prime.
A suddenly interested wolf
knowing its cunning
would only
carry it so far.
The real battle
would be far too much work.

Only
after reassuring myself of this
did I look down
to finish my task.

When my gaze
rose again
the fifth man
was gone.

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