When the River Went Away – Part IV – Afterwards

The mockery of their happiness lingered into the years

Long after the places they lived had blown away across the fields

I can’t remember the tree when I visited them then,

But now its heavy branches reach out, holding this place

In mid-summer, when the grass turns golden yellow,

When the old men change topics from weather to iced tea perhaps,

Someone lingers through the field, stopping here and there

And I wonder if they are standing on the places where the lives

Of an old couple passed through, holding hands, laughing,

Bereaving and all the things that get marked in subtle ways

And now cause people to pause in their steps and look across.

When the visitors came back from the field, their eyes are focused

But easy, in the way that walking across time can do.