By Joseph Hesch
I took a walk by myself yesterday
and recalled how much I always loved
just walking and watching.
“Woolgathering,” Grandma called it.
“You’re wasting time, little boy,” she’d preach.
Years and years of it have reaped me a lot of wool,
or maybe just the dust of memories by now.
An ancient tree in the park caught my attention.
It knew I was coming; its limbs waved me down.
And on the edge of the yawning mouth
in the tree’s face—a gash big enough
for a bear to hide in—
rose an impudent squirrel.
He hurled me a lesson full of sound and
fury on behalf of his silent old host,
a fiery flicking tongue testifying there’s some life
left in the old boy, and chit-chitting his pride
that he’s a big piece of it.
That’s when I realized how much I loved my
walks and secret conversations with the world.
I don’t feel like I’ve wasted all of those memories.
I carry their dust in my bones, I’m sure.
They just need to be reconstituted
by fresh perspective and the miracle voices.
Now I collect them, commit them to paper,
and share them with the nascent me,
that fiery, furry—or is it wooly?—
young poem maker who
resides inside this dry old hide.
Photo by Ruban Phukan