The walkers on this road travel without light:
darkness cuts us down to size, vagrants
fording rural stiles, skirting the black herds,
confusing bodies porcine, bovine, hominal.
Our city ways were lit with sodium lights
when we assuredly commandeered night--
passage from the rose spray over docks,
the penetration of stars, solace of crowds
staring wall-eyed at the stumbling human tide.
This binding kerchief tightened on the brow
concentrates the breath, blinds the eyes,
trips the foot on shadowed roots along the berm.
The country contracts like cold flesh, buckling
like springtime roads quaking in winter’s wake.
Glib talkers in our way, we go on saying nothing
on this blasted odyssey: children of the father
masked, respiring for the last few hours until
his wanderers arrive and he can quietly expire.
We will curse that walk with everything we have
the sleeping country mindless of itself
of desperate acts that happen every day
of cold fields razed for the blue wards
where lights left burning wink for new breath
for old breath hushed and frail skin raggedly torn
for the strut of shift change just before dawn.
Carol Alexander is a writer and editor in the field of educational publishing. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Avocet, Chiron Review, Mobius, Numinous, The New Verse News, Red River Review, and OVS. New work is scheduled to appear in Canary, Eunoia Review, Sugar Mule, Poetrybay, and the Mad Hatter's Review. Her work has also appeared in the anthologies Broken Circles, Joy Interrupted, The Storm is Coming, and Surrounded: Living with Islands.