Past the river this evening


by Eric James Cruz

Past the river this evening,

steam

in the shaken months of summer,

where jays buzz long-shadowed in the trees.

We climb to wind for a quiet place—

It is no secret to the hundreds of walkers

who spend breath here—

over stone and rot from Spring’s blossoms

to the one trail I know even when its dark.

Moving

along this road of dust and stars,

my skin is warm.

Now and then I find you

stooping, like the flowers winter craves,

stopping by a mossy log or damp patch of mud

to rest—

In these pauses

fresh air. Everything beyond us

slips from leaves that are like so many bodies

in the ground. I try speaking about

something lost—

--the broken blades of grass.

Hours later, we begin our ritual,

stretching muscles

darkened in the whispers

of this cadence—

One. Two.

Keep pulling.

We are spent, loving

the near burn of our bodies. The lake, too, now a ghost,

a poem growing older by light.

Rants of midnight, the coming haze, a desire

to be home.

And the trees are like thinning beards,

without the weight of music.

_________________________________________________________

Eric James Cruz is a high school English teacher and poet who lives in San Antonio, Texas. His most recent work appears or is forthcoming in 8 Poems, Ghost City Review, Carve, and River River Review. Cruz is currently pursuing his MFA at Warren Wilson's MFA Program for Writers. Follow him @encodedmuses on Twitter.


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