He stands there still

 

 

He stands there still
After all these years,
With aches and pains, 
His tears, sapped out,
Old weathered limbs, 
Mossy yearnings
Carved in his heart.

He witnessed Old Man John tend his sheep
Grazing through the spring-lit meadow
While John's dog chased off the fox.
He saw John's daughter fight off their neighbor's son
One night after a slow love song.
He saw her give in, one morning, after dawn
As the sun began to warm the night's cool breath
He saw tear drops swelling on the grassy field
Behind the grove by John's old barn.

One day, he heard her cry out
He wanted to help, to soothe, to pray
He wanted to hold and say that it would all land in its place,
That he would return one day
Because people always come back to where they belong.
Even from way back.
That her baby girl would grow up to know her father
That he would teach her to tend Old Man John's flock.
But words failed him. 
So he just stood there and waited, arms outstretched,
For her to lean, to rest her weary head
And when she did, he shielded her eyes from the blinding sun
He softened her ache,
He welcomed her hands clawing circles in the dirt.
Tracing dark shadows into his roots.

​The witness tree.

© 2017, laura balladur, all rights reserved

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