On a stroll — of the many strolls —
Around the lake one day
— At eighteen or so — ten years ago,
Walking in a many-frilled uniform, towards me, I see
With leather satchel, plaited hair, annoyed stare:
And here we come — towards each other —
And you stop a meditated yard or two
From where I — to greet you a ‘hi’ — pause; stop.
‘Hi’. ‘Hi’. And with these two heavy, undecided hi’s caught
Midway between two half stammering eyes,
I ask you as to whether I can walk you half the way: home.
You said no and you added that you
Know the way alright, too well. That there are people
All around you and that it was good time that you had go.
Walked down the walkway, without a glance to look back
And for the next ten years I just met you one time more.
They have redone the walkway, — elevated it a bit —
Laid bricks, done the edges, tarred the road
And dredged the lake. Have set the boundaries straight,
With a water sprout fussing in the middle. I look at me
As I walk the margins making what poetry you make.
Where you might be today, is something you would have known,
Refusing me to walk you, refusing to stay.
Well, here I am humming, watching the torsos that I pass,
Dodging purposeful paupers with many a mournful alas.
I just wanted to walk with you, that’s all. Like people
Do when they meet.