We had gone as far as the road
Could take us. We’d come to other forks
And made up our minds, or made do.
Here, though, we gave up our fancy machines
And stumbled on, by foot.
Sometimes, we had stopped to laugh
Or catch our breath at wonders
That came our way. When we had to,
We raised angry voices to the wind,
As if it might change direction.
We had the latest gadgets,
Which told us where we were,
Thirty-feet, more or less.
Since we had each other, we claimed
We were never lost. Sometimes night
Took us by surprise,
And when we faltered,
We held each other tight.
Here at this stopping point
The path is only wide enough
For one to go, and one to follow.
You take the light, I say,
Since you insist on clearing a way
And leading me with that one good hand.
For a bit, I hear you sing
A little tune, and I hum along.
Then you see something ahead,
And you hurry. I don’t.
Wait here, you say. I’ll check this out.
And though the unknown
Has long worried me,
You are fearless.
I kiss your dry cheek
And watch you fade
Through an opening.
Cry though I might,
I cannot get you back.
Nor can I turn around.
I’ll stand a while,
Before I move along.
Oil painting by Ryutaro Ikeda.
key words: dying, loss, grief