Walking Home


Emmanuel S. Torres

At midnight I and a stranger drowse

toward separate homes.

The crunch of small stones underfoot

reminds us how far we are

from each other, although our shadows

would include each other more

than once, streaming forward

from the streetlight behind us

brightening the loneliness

of the steps toward sleep.

At the fork of the road, we part

ways, deepening into night.

How we are closer now,

brothered by night's darkness and beasts

of solitude on all fours.

Each bush is thick with shadowbrows

of thieves and the unloved wind

blows my hair to let me in

on its curious passion

for prodigals. As from tree stones

harden away and from stones my heels,

I think of what I have done

or not done, of what I am supposed

to repent to the night that has

small power to absolve. Frogs

croak across my wayfaring,

persisting upon my will to walk

not past the life whose sakes

could be mine to share piecemeal out

to others. Stars are in their places,

naturally, and have nothing to give,

only beauty, although I have

wronged lives and my own least name

walking more than miles

away from those I would love

and strangers to whom I have given

false directions. Yet I take

courage from one lightbulb

left burning at the backdoor

of a house no batwing black

can foul, cancelling all thought

of stars, their strange violence

and stranger absences.

It will not blur in my storm:

one light godfathering

tracks back to worn thresholds,

not furthering the cause of darkness

in, but my makeshift life,

another only try

to brighten the four corners

of what I have and set straight

my room's several wayward lines


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