Hickory Nut Falls
The wind says, Breathe into the sting,
but the mind anticipates the hive.
Each day bears a lesson.
In my room, where the dry leaves know the secret to eternal life
and the acorn shows me how to stand tall, I search for the gorge,
cool patches of earth like open mouth kisses.
There is no separation.
Papa used prayer, sat in his threadbare chair,
each labored breath a short infinity; each day a gift.
At the water’s edge, I see him as a young man,
feet bare, toes crooked like mine,
working a smooth stone between his fingers
like a talisman to a timeless space.
Ankles numb in the flowing river that connects us,
I stand there as he sends the stone dancing across the water’s surface,
feel the ripples expand within me, remember the calm of his voice:
I am always with you. We are always home.