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All Day It Was About Distances

by Elizabeth Carothers Herron


First the flash of a hawk       the space     between air      

and earth narrowing, something breathless in its twist

as it dove (autumn sun through rust hued feathers)

to disappear in the dark collapsed grass. An echo of color

scuttered across the road—a maple leaf end-over-end

against four o'clock sky—close to the ground, fast,

just a glimpse.  Now in the night garden amid roses

guarded by armies of thorns, the dog prowling dark

for the hide-and-seek cat, I stand listening while you sleep

with all the distance of your fears inside you

and the long roads of loss, crossed and re-crossed

by slow caravans of hope. I listen

to the worn harness and buckles and bells fade

in the distances we live with—the hunger of the poor,

the war scorched cities. I listen for the steady cricket song

of the heart's secret, the broken stumbling scuff

of our reaching wings.