The Walking Man There he is, on the shoulder of the twolane road out of town. Warm overcast day just after 9 in the morning. A resolute walk, not rapid but strong. Backpack. I pass him, then drive on. Rearview mirror shows a few seconds of short white beard, lean face. Jeans flap against long shins. Nothing ahead for him but a long walk to the next town past newplanted corn. Now light rain dots my windshield. I should stop. But I’m a woman alone. I drive on. A dip in the road and he’s gone. Later on, my business done, I’m halfway home on the same road. It’s almost noon. There he is, the same walk, and there’s the backpack. I should stop, turn around. Wouldn’t take long, just back to town. But then, rain’s ended. Lunch is waiting. I drive on. Since then, every time I drive that road again I look for him, to make amends.
TAKING SIDES The old brown dog. The old curly haired brown dog. The old curly haired brown dog Chases squirrels for no good reason. The old curly haired brown dog Never catches a squirrel; But from our back window We root for him, sense something In his need to remember better times, Closer chases, where perhaps even Once or twice the squirrel was caught. The old curly haired brown dog Does not even finish the chase, Each time turning back To the soft and cool depression He has made in the comfortable dirt Behind an indifferent hedge. If ever he caught a squirrel We would root for the squirrel. The once agile gray squirrel. The once agile limp gray squirrel. The once agile limp gray squirrel Twisted into an upside-down U In the old curly haired brown dog’s Mouth, the red leaking out of him And the spigots of his running Turned shut. Our eyes Accustomed to the chase but not the catch, Our contrasting hearts might wonder where Now does this quickness go?
~ Ken Poyner
~ Marydale Stewart
Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1
FLAR is an independently published literary and art magazine located in Fredericksburg, Virginia.