Ode to a Rock Road in Ohio

I desire to be warm as red paint, spread on dying wood:

Behind my best friend’s house, on a barn, in Ohio, something like 1985,

On a rock road, by an adjoining church parking lot, where I learned to ride my bike.

The dialogues I had back then with God have followed me all of my life.

My father, he held me high over his powerful arms then, and I didn’t mind.

My mother, she tucked me in and read me stories till I dreamed of writing my own.


With ruddy eyes, I’d stare out from the wood of the shed;

I’d stretch my red lips into a smile, watch the trees finally release,

With a touch of regret ingrained, the snow above my head.

Knowing full well the fleetingness of these moments,

And the time spent wishing I could grip longer—

But I don’t waste that time holding my wooden breath.


I’d befriend the rocks that skinned my knees,

Behind my best friend’s house,

In Ohio, as I am spread, like warm, red paint

on the dying wood of a barn,

that had probably been there for decades before I first fell;

Watching all the five-year olds like me, breaking in our knees, bleeding on the white rocks—

Twin wheels spinning lazily in wind shear off timber skin,

Whirling struts sharing in the light-motes off holy glass;

A bike waiting to be pulled up from the ground; a gust emits,

like that of unseen hands, ushering the boy along back home.



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