Who are they, drifting into our camp by the lake. Appearing from the woods and wandering through a maze of shabby tents and filthy sleeping bags. Stepping around a hundred small fires. Day and day and day again. They come and they come. The one who waves hello to everyone he sees. The one who keeps her mouth covered with a hand. The one with weary eyes. The one with many nervous tics. The one who peels off his clothes and dives deep into the lake. The one who sits on a stone by a blackberry bush and picks off berries and feeds them to squirrels. The one who writes in the dirt with her fingernail. The one who claims God has a plan. The one who laughs at the notion that a higher power can possibly be at the wheel. The one who goes a little mad, then a lot mad, then seems normal again, but isn’t, not really. The one who walks to the center of the camp and dances in tight circles. The one with two hats on her head, pink and the bright yellow. The one, I think he’s a man, but so old who can tell, just loose skin and white wispy hair and so many wrinkles it’s hard to make out a human face. The one who smiles and smiles and smiles, then lies down under a tree and stops breathing. The one with a limp, who says he was born lame, the limp used to be much worse, it has steadily gotten better the further west he’s walked, maybe if he travels far enough his gait will completely heal. The one who can’t stop looking over his shoulder, but never explains what terrifying entity haunts the rear. The one with red hair tied into dirty knots. The one with hair that is no definable color. The tall one. The short one. The one so thin she seems transparent. The one who talks to himself with a variety of unique voices. The one who nods quietly and seems so wise it makes me hurt deep down in a way that defies description.
These ones. I used to hear people use the phrase, maybe hundreds of times, and always wanted to ask them hey what’s wrong with you, these ones doesn’t make any sense, a plural describing a singular, can’t you see the obvious contradiction of terms. There is no these. There are only ones. We are all ones. We are all part of a great unseen whole that moves towards a common fate. Proper grammar isn’t the issue. There are matters of much more importance.