the edge of Khimki forest bathing
in autumn sun hides the black earth.
ravens take flight minutes before the distant grinding
treads roll through fields.
we watch near but yet
unseen by the men in green
we have donned gas masks and white suits
an early snowfall shields the form we have taken.
and the forest stands still, silent
its own white suit becoming thicker with each hour
and we watch the procession of trucks, tanks
armored vehicles – the green snake determined
marching forth the path worn, indented
tire tracks and footprints frozen in place.
the last vehicle passes and silence returns
moments before the sky fell, the white snow
replaced with grey ash.
even the trees turn within
in that moment of pure silence
when all beings stop, hold breathe,
and wait, for the cloud to pass,
for the sun to return.