by Kevin Jones
“My wife and I walk the cold road in silence, asking for thirty more years.”
When we set out before sunrise to face the cold,
we walk through it in contextual stride,
not asking how many steps will make the walk,
not asking why the road bends up ahead.
The fences suggest that someone has made a claim,
although the branches of a willow tree
reach out into the street and brush your shoulder.
That’s the kind of thing that lasts anyway,
I think, and say maybe that willow is bending
toward the occasional river that runs
down the gutter in spring. We all have memories,
you say. The neighborhood soon gives way
to an older kind of life, pine and twisted oak, an owl
pushing a sleepy hoo down the hillside.
I wonder as I walk beside you how vivid is the pain
you carry. I wonder about the uncertainty
running the length of your fingers in my hand. I look above
the trees at the deep purple sky that must be growing
lighter by now. A deer snaps a branch in the thicket
and his crowned head bolts upright in alarm.
He knows he has made a mistake. But there is nothing to fear
this morning of a quiet man walking the cold road alone.
— from Juniper Volume 4, Issue 2