In the Open (or Solitude by Duke Ellington)

late in this trip
early in this journey
A group of friends met down on the Farm
With Donkeys, and sheep
And a behemoth name Elvis
There was Flo and Simon
Lulu and Fanny
And dogs, oh, were there dogs!
Izzy and Lenore and Pearl and Orson
Red and all the others
whose bodies and spirits live in the barn and the pasture
In the folded corners and tattered covers
of all my books next to my bed

The gentleman with the walking stick
He’s the one
I feel like I’ve been watching his trek
From Jersey to Bedlam
And then Bedlam, again
I’ve lived so much of his life
Right alongside him
His sister and the Newfies
Hospice and therapy
Carrots for the donkeys
And sometimes … Nuts!
I spoke one day and echoed his words
I bore myself to his friends
And I wept that night

And the unthinkable happened
At long last, after so many years
I wanted to write again
So I did
And he and his friends listened
Listened to my story, held my hand
Assured me that I was doing the right thing
Assured me I could pack my bags again
And start walking
Never knowing where I would end up
And for the first time, walking anyway.
They live in Ohio and New Jersey
Then there’s the one across town

So maybe, I’ll see them one day
Down on the Farm
And I’ll tell Red all about Kilgore
They would have got along, I’m sure of that
And I’ll greet the man with the stick
And the funny hat
And shake his hand.
And have others read it

2 thoughts on “In the Open (or Solitude by Duke Ellington)

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