Holding On

A discarded fast food bag nestles, lifeless,
crumpled, among last Autumns leaves,
sticks, and dirt along the walking path,

refusing to blend into the detritus of
roadside art, natures prizes. The wind
rustles a loose flap of the paper like a
Buddhist prayer flag at a mountain

monastery sending hopes and dreams
skyward to the gods of wishes as you
make your pilgrimage through this ancient
wood waiting to be heard, waiting.

A pilgrimage of the heart and yesterday’s
dreams at times seems never ending and
finished long ago but the paper flag
will not release the grief of sorrow you

hold with iron fists and so you stop and
nudge the bag with the toe of your worn
boot but it holds fast like a metaphor for
the clouded memories your mind can’t release.

So you stoop to grab it and feel the pangs
of age in your hip and it still refuses
to move because it’s impaled by a stick
through it’s sides like a warrior run

through by an enemy’s sword, the gaping wound
oozing the reminders of what you hold inside.

Leaking through your fingers like blood
from a wound, the memories are all that you
have, besides her ashes and so you leave
the paper bag to lie where it is and

hope you can remember her smile, her touch
for just a little while longer and time
will not release them like prayers on the
wind. And you will not walk this way again
for fear that the bag will be gone.

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