I am in Virginia, it is spring, dandelions blanket the hill,
unlike home where winters gray pall still holds sway.
I climb with Shep, the border collie who keeps me
                in the corner of his eye always.
We are taking a break from the road,
both of us weary with the numbing hum of tires.
Grass is still recovering from winter,
                brown and green marble the roadside.
I think of my wife back home where the air is frigid,
                our pond still iced over.
I think of Odysseus and his ten year journey;
                twenty if you count the war years?
Why was Penelope left to wait in Ithaka?
I am trying not to think of the heart attack brewing in my chest
                as we crest the hill.
Where is Amelia?
Should she be here with me?
Is it better for her not to witness?
To spare her this roadside crisis?
My friend Dr. Leonard, since his stroke, only takes the train anymore
                and always without his wife;
                to save her from the next stroke?
He is “recovered,” though he admits to fits of fear and trembling,
                but only to me.
My son is reading Ovid for a literature class,
                he is in love with the professor –
I envy her the unrestrained passion of the sophomore romantic,
and I pity poor Ovid, languishing in exile on the Black Sea coast.
Is it possible to strike a bargain with Heaven
                for certitude at the end,
                or is that the Devil’s purview?
Was Napoleon’s last word really “Josephine?”
Why is my mind dwindling to questions
                at a time when clarity is so needed?
Why is it so cold at the top of this hill,
and where has that dog gotten off to…
After reading Folk Song: On the Road Again by Hayden Carruth