From Georgia, through South Carolina,
North Carolina, around Greenville and Charlotte,
across the Tugaloo River, and the Broad,
the Catawba, the Yadkin and the New,
through two storms, one thick yet brittle,
the other soft, collecting on the windshield like tears,
over one night,
here I am, flowers in hand,
looking for the little brass plate
that, till they get the stone, marks your spot. Here:
flowers and I, the weak November sun, real tears.
Pointless words, no one around Tuesday afternoon
to hear them, you can’t—Psalm 23,
Cardinal Newman’s prayer: “ . . . the shadows lengthen
and the evening comes, and the busy world,” and so forth.
A few curses. More unwanted tears.
I’m spending tonight with friends in Roanoke.
Then home again. “I won’t be back,” I say
to the air, though who knows? “Godspeed,”
I add, though why I don’t know,
and I turn to walk back to the car,
as the shadows lengthen and the evening comes,
and the busy world, and so forth.