This poem appears in the Summer 2017 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.
When we came here some forty years ago
I’d jog the bayou road in rain and sun—
Often to jeers—and had to dodge or slow
When drivers hurled pop bottles just for fun.
But then young doctors set up in the town
And got potbellied patients on a track
Or walking trail to bring their weight back down
And ward off early stroke or heart attack.
So now we greet each other when we meet
At dusk or dawn our headbands dropping sweat
On soaked-through tee shirts, then to quickened feet
That speed us toward our goal of health, and yet . . .
What is the final end toward which we move,
Both sick and well, whether we will or no?
A fate whose nature none of us can prove
But into whose vast trackless realm we go?
May be. Yet still we walk along and gaze
Amazed by dazzling pageants of the skies,
This ordered chaos, star trails set ablaze
Toward which the aster blossoms while it dies.
And so, perhaps, we sojourn after all—
Though worlds like glass may shatter, demons jeer—
Toward Love, the Great Physician, who will call
Our hearts to health beyond each sweated tear.