November Morning, On the Way

“November Morning, On the Way”


“My heart was pounding. I stood a while, listening to the small sounds of the woods and looking at the stars. After excitement we are so restful. When the thumb of fear lifts, we are so alive.”

—“May,” Mary Oliver


A young man held my hand this morning, smiled.

His hand was soft. His smile was not a smile.

I felt him coming up alongside me, too close.


Have you ever seen a snake unnameable for darkness?

When I met your eyes you must have, frozen as you were

when I grabbed back the bag and the liquid, loud, and unfenced voice


outpoured over the oncoming train, growing louder

as the quiet deer of people’s selves nosed out of the bushes

of their blending, cool, and silent mind. Nobody moved. They never do.


It’s ok. But hearing that voice, I had to walk away. I’ve never been so angry.

Darling, it was full of papers—poetry and plays and things.

Only my soul. Nothing of value to anybody else.


Still your warmth and softness in my hand. I hope you’ll be alright.

Still with the train coming, my only instinct is to fight.

Still holding my bag of light.