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|  THE LIGHT LOAD

 
  I used to carry him as an infant
wrapped in blankets
between the bare pear trees,
between the branches
like old fingers ready to snatch us
out of the moonlight,
sky and night forged
into a sharp January blade
that cut through our coats.

The grape wires sang
every meadow bird's song,
whispering like
the sound of stars stretching apart.

I'd walk all the way
to the neighbouring raspberry canes,
slow-chant to him
until he fell asleep. I could feel his weight
drop as though staying awake
required lifting the sky up
for everyone to pass under.

Through the days, months, years
he grows thicker with each sleep.
This simple vow:
You will never be too heavy for me to carry.
Asleep in my arms,
I take him up the creaking stairs
of an old man's back,
and lay him down into
the soft cup of night's fingers.


from Forever the Last Time
Wolsak & Wynn
2004
Copyright © Jim Slominski