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October 2019 Vol. 15 No. 3

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Janet Lynn Davis

Stepping in Place

So here we are. I suppose it's just how I expected it to be, this forested, Zen-like retreat. One last chance to escape the world before my husband and I fly back home tomorrow morning.

We embark on a stroll. Lush, manicured vegetation hugs the walkway that weaves around the lodge. Impulsively, I bend to sniff a full, round cluster of pink florets. But there's no scent. A moment or two later, I smush my nose into a pure white flowerhead – again no scent.

even the soles of our shoes
on gravel . . .
the oddness of my voice
as a few words slip out

A sign points to a loop trail. "Let's go on it," I suggest, half expecting to end up somewhere magical, transformative. However, my hopes are short-lived: in no time, the trail takes us through the woods and almost back to where we started.

Further down the walkway, we come upon a winding stone staircase that leads to a graceful lawn beside a lily pond and a patio dotted with happy-looking people. Colorful shade umbrellas dance above tables and chairs. I'd like to wander down there, except for some reason the stairs are roped off. We have to follow the conventional route to the front entrance of the lodge.

the view
from this vantage point
no more
than a picture postcard
meant for someone else

Today is the day when I learn that my sister does indeed have cancer.

I'd make for her
a daisy chain the length
of her journey . . .
but how to keep the petals
vibrant and intact?