I carried my father on my back
At least fifty years, though
I've never visited the underworld.
There have been doors in the leaves,
Some as big as caves.
I've followed the rumor of streams
That disappeared underground.
The gods have saved me from death
Three times, I've spoken
With trees, lounged with a goddess
On an island of blind men,
Her voice warm as first sunlight.
My life is myth, or maybe dream,
Of that I am certain. I live
Among talking crows and foxes.
We all make flawed choices
For the edification of someone
Or something vague that watches,
That we mostly forget about, that leaves us
Alone. I finally set my father down
In a cooling shade of tall trees
But I've forgotten where
And in a dream he told me
To stop looking, do not be afraid
For him, that he is well. It felt then
That the underworld was above me
And my father was above me.
So I live in this circle of symbols
That talk in a language I can translate,
Though they laugh at times
At my interpretation. I think
I'm supposed to be quiet now.
Like a heavy stone, I am drawn
To stillness and moss covered rock.
My hair gray as an old garden wall,
I am leaning and disheveled
And feel the green earth pulling roots
Out of me, my hands wanting
To burst into bloom.
PATRICK CARROTHERS lives in Cincinnati and writes with gratitude to teachers Edward Dorn, John Ashbery and Terry Stokes. He has recently finished a 30 year career in business as a marketing executive and is happy to now be writing full time.