Walking Is Good and Other Things We Tell Ourselves
The edge of the asphalt is cracked and crumbling
where he steps on the painted white line, blessing
the wheat and thistle with outstretched palm.
Boys in a car hoot and holler, but he does not
flinch. He envisions leaping onto their trunk, ripping
the door open, and throwing each one into a tree.
A gray finch lies on the roadway. He bumps it
with his shoe. It is like a toy. Its feathers are still soft,
its eyes black with a crystal glint. There is no blood.
He stands in the archway of a mausoleum, presses his ear
to the stone door. A draft whispers secrets of the dead
to the corn spider wrapping a beetle in a silk cocoon.
He sits in the shade of a pine along a cemetery road
thinking about deer ticks and how itchy the grass is
and scrambles away when a car crunches down the lane.
A padlock key lies along the curb. He rolls it
through his fingers, tosses it into the gutter, revels
in the clinks off the grate and the sploosh of the water.
Puffs of clouds court the horizon; he is surrounded.
Unseen space and flighty wisps lord over him
as the sun continues its ceaseless interrogation.
He plucks the head off a wildflower between his knuckles.
It is a giant white ring on his finger, a thousand tiny
blossoms he never could make. He twirls it and twirls it.
A rabbit picks at the gravel before him. It stops as he crunches
closer, perks up. They stare each other down.
It is frozen; he draws closer; its ears twitch; his lips part.
It, too, runs away.
by Luke Evans
from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 18, July 2010
Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim