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Hike of a thousand steps – by Scott Caputo

Posted on Jul 16, 2017 by in August 2017 |

Water plunges down the orange crags
toward tops of pines
splashes through needles,
dissipates into brush.

Paul and I hike down the Giant Stairway,
cliff-hewn steps mixed with metal stairs,
hemmed in by the Blue Mountains of Australia,
every stride closer to cooler drafts.

I’m already tired
but how can I complain
when my friend does everything I do
with a baby on his back,
little fingers
slap his sweaty hair.

Ten years ago in California,
Paul and I ran inside a closing gate
toward a monastery
we spied from the freeway,
a sprawling snake-line
with s-curved roofs.

No one stopped us
as we wandered
through wind-chimed gardens,
benches on the valley edge,
the last place missionaries saw
before they jumped to China
with only a book in their hand.
A passing monk took our photo.
Two friends against the ridge.

Now Paul is a world away in Australia.
As we march down each step,
the path turns, my friend tells me
how he holds his son
for hours every night.
But he’s grown so fast.
Already, naps on his chest are gone.

What have I done
with my empty apartment?
I have fallen
in the spaces between days.

The forest advances over me,
looming chimneys blacken the skies.
I can’t stay in the shadows.
I must get ready to leap.

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