Saturday, October 3, 2015

Learning to walk

It's not that she hasn't been doing this all along:
She'd walked to school as yellow lozenges, oozing screams,
fumed past her along hot asphalt. She'd splashed the creek,

anxious for a path, then built it herself, kenning
to use her father's axe without lost blood.
She'd walked from Springer Mountain north, chatting in

her offhand way with bears, a big cat and a ghost.
She'd walked the halls of academia and then the hills,
big ones, bringing seedling trees to snug up to

the raw stumps of firs machines had eaten.
She'd walked to a job for decades, block after block
of homes with eyes of black glass inching

past her tired, angry shoes. Now, late in life,
she keeps a small dog bereft by her parents'
breathing stopped. The dog has taught much:

when to stop and sniff; how to attend with one's
whole being the business of squirrels. Bound
by the leash, that necessary thing, they two as one

take in, absorb, imbibe, inhale, entaste
all the arriving and leaving of the living things.




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