Way Back

glimpsed in passing
at seventy miles an hour

dark eyes in a pale
heart-shaped face

no longer playing

and later when
i measure myself

against a massive
mossy boulder

i feel my fragility
a winter wren tut-tuts

but one helicopter breaks
a whole mountain’s silence

i get out my phone camera
still hungry to possess

a young pine caught
in a dead oak’s embrace

leaves in mid-air against
a wild tangle of limbs

clouds furthering the end-
lessness of mountains

i find the stone-walled spring
dry for the first time

descending an eroded path
deep in fallen leaves

i walk like a drunk
to avoid injury

loose-limbed and slow
resolutely unsteady

and manage to hold
the ground at bay

stiltgrass encroaches
like a bad combover

the seeds having hitchhiked in
on shoes and bike tires

the trail leads under
a fallen tree

why is it so difficult
to bow my head

and then i’m on my knees
among baby porcupines

american chestnut husks
spiny and golden

from not one but two trees
beside the trail

canopy-height and twice
as thick as my neck

with no sign of blight
no earlier dead sprouts

i take pictures to challenge
my own disbelief

amid the drama
of changing seasons

and the unreadable
gestures of aging oaks

in the silence of the mountain
i can hear my own pulse

a faint but steady
drip of water

somewhere in a hollow
under the rocks

2 Replies to “Way Back”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.