Older

I’m a block back when I see the older couple turn down my route home.

It’s dusk.
I’ve taken the old dog out for a walk in the fading daylight,
The fade lasting deep into evening these days,
Just after summer solstice
When the earth and air and sky are touching
and no one wants to miss the magic of this late hour.

I watch as they get closer to the curve in the road
The one I passed this way before circling back
to give the old dog’s hips some relief at home.
The same curve marking the place where
a doe is laying down in the middle of the manicured lawn
Visible over the hedge

They almost pass right by and then
Their bodies speak surprise and delight
Lingering, admiring, maybe snapping a picture.
And then the deference, starting to walk ahead,
not wanting to disturb
And just before turning away,
A beautiful, silly little wave
Goodbye, deer. Goodnight, beauty and surprise and delight.

They hold hands then, just for a few moments.
I find myself wondering how many times that can happen over a lifetime —
A thousand? A hundred thousand?

They don’t walk far before
he starts chasing fireflies
their light growing brighter
in the faded soft gray.
Three times he stops, reaches out, gives up, goes on.

Just before I turn away down my road home, I steal one last look
to say goodnight to beauty
surprise
delight
thanksgiving

And I see a glow light up right there between them,
But it’s so close they can’t see it
illuminate their faces
before it fades and flits away.

  • http://bensternke.com/ Ben Sternke

    Love this.

  • Amber Cadenas

    Oh gosh, Kim. This takes my breath away in its glory. I can see this couple and feel the illuminate love and the dance between old age and childhood wonder and those who are somehow able to live in both spaces. Thank you.