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.
The Adirondack Review