- David Bottoms
Sometimes when my old man tries to talk, his mind runs like a small boy
on a path through the woods.
You know the story. There's home to get to, and it's getting late,
only a little light still slicing through the trees.
And the boy has walked the path so many times,
he thinks he can do it in his sleep. But no. Some bird sounds off
way back in the woods, and he tries to ignore it, but it harps again,
and suddenly he's off the path, deeper and deeper
into the trees, wading the shadows, following the strangest
and most beautiful birdsong he's ever heard
until he crosses a stream and catches in the corner of his eye
a ruby as big as his fist, sure, a ruby or some rock
just as precious, and bends to pick it up when a wild dog ...
no, not a dog, when a wolf barks across a gully,
and he's beating his way through brush and briar,
trailing those barks and howls already fading
in the distance. All the while the woods have grown dark,
and suddenly he looks across the table,
and you see in his eyes that he's lost.
[NOTE: This was first posted on Mar 5, 2009.]