A Winter Walk

A Winter Walk

The lines carved in her face match

the long, meandering trail of their lives.

His impatient love steadies

her anxious calm, and they know.

They know the steps it takes

to get from house to road and back.

She knows the words that fuel

his little boy insides housed

in gristled and calloused skin.

He hears her voice long after

she has left the house to play Bridge.

He has never done taxes, liked candles

or vacuumed the stairs.

But his love song to her leaves him bloodied

from stray hammer blows rebuilding the deck;

purple from not looking up to see

the corner of the new shelves for her pantry;

broken from dropping the new pedestal sink

on toes, much more fragile still.

She covered his shivering husk when

he caught pneumonia last year during harvest;

cut his gnarled toenails when his new hip

denied him the movement to do it himself;

combed his hair because, well, it needed it.

Deeply divetted in the haunches of time

were daily walks to the gate by the gravel road.

Their son-in-law took a picture last year.

They were on a winter walk.

It hangs on a silent mantel –

that still remembers them.

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