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January 2018, vol 13 no 4

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Chris Bays

Lost on the Edge of Suburbia

Which road did I take that led to these woods? I stare down a narrow path. It fades into what seems a tunnel with no end. Trees sway on both sides. Even the glimmer of yellow light flickering on and off between branches is too distant to mark a path home. Why didn’t I bring a flashlight?

Caught in swirling thoughts – the empty desk, phone call, obituary – I must have strolled beyond the line of dusk. What signs were there? The last time I saw my student she was joggling, keeping rhythm to a rap song in the school hallway. When she saw me, she flashed a full smile, flung her blond curls back, told me she had been writing songs. No sign she was addicted to heroin. No sign she had wandered too far from home and herself – into a silence greater than the silence growing in these woods.

I whistle for good cheer. Imagine these woods as a sanctuary alive with birds that exist no more. I long for songs – any song but my own.

distant thunder
a gaggle of geese
in a driveway