Autumn Revival

clomp clomp clomp swish

feet clad in leather and laces

carry him to an undetermined, unwarranted destination

he walks

dried chocolate leaves crunching

their remnants wedged between the grooves

of boots that have seen

too many winters

and too many journeys

like this one

 

to get from where he started

to where he says he isn’t going

he climbs the hill downtown

and turns the corner

at the house that used

to be painted a cheery yellow

in his childhood

but now

the yellow is chipped, faded

the cheer has aged

and become wrinkled acceptance

of its piss-stained colour

intermixed with faded white collar freedom

 

the frigid air soothes his hot blood

though his bones will be chilled

for hours after

in his ice box of a studio apartment,

his mind will be clear

no one follows him on these walks

he does not worry that he will run into his past

like crashing pellets in a white out

so close that he does not know where it ends

and he begins

 

he hops the fence of the piss-stained house

steps fell tall stalks of grass and weeds

blue eyes stare at the rusted out swing set

beside a weary oak tree

a tire lies between them,

gathering weeds and wild flowers,

like a fairy crown

 

shivers against memories

and things that weren’t meant to be

he hops another fence and another

and again

to the ravine

if childhood is a backyard

this is the stage of adolescence

wars were waged on these paths

glances were stolen in that clearing

curfews broken and parents’ calls missed

 

the soil, not quite at that winter freeze,

but hard against the boots,

gives way to rock, edged, barren, raw

gives way to water, cold, brutal, soft

but

deceptive

beguiling

 

he sits on the rocks

because even if it hurts

it makes him feel something

the water laps at the edges

soaking into the holes of his over-worn boots

he wonders when the others will come

lapping at the edges of his mind

he sits, somewhere between

pain & numb

here & there

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