by Roxanne Hoffman
We trudged up the steep hill,
beating a path beneath us with our feet,
kicking up loose rocks and
the dry dust whirling all around us,
trying not to look back down
at the village bustling below,
less real with every step
like a faraway fairyland
disappearing into the mist.
We searched and searched,
peering into every cave and
stirring every hallow we passed,
the brush whipping against
our bare arms and legs,
sometime slicing our hands
as we pushed it away
to keep it from scraping our faces.
Without mind to thorn and thistle,
we kept plodding on
until the brush opened up
into a bright sunlit clearing, a meadow,
filled with billowing Queen Anne's Lace.
A wave of blue bells beckoned us in the breeze,
as a lone lark, atop a thistle, sang its lilting melody.
By then exhausted,
we tumbled down, one by one,
landing on the soft fragrant beds of clover,
the sweet dew-drenched grass kissing our faces.
I found myself kneeling,
clutching a single blade of grass,
as if in prayer,
grateful and guilty
that we hadn't found him.
Then I saw the sun begin to set,
its color changing from yellow to orange to red,
growing rounder and larger as it sank,
and remembering just how faraway we were
from home and the safety of our beds,
I shouted a warning cry.
Quickly, we scrambled to our feet,
our faces already tinged red by the setting sun,
our shadows trailing behind us like guideposts,
as we started the slow descent
back down the hill
after the sun
always one step behind
never quite catching up.
Time was on his side,
and the Nighttime, his playtime,
and we were his toys.
Roxanne Hoffman, a former Wall Street banker, now
works nights answering a patient hotline for a major
home health care provider in New York. Her poems have
recently appeared in Amaze: The Cinquain Journal,
Champagne Shivers, MÖBIUS The Poetry Magazine,
Clockwise Cat and the Canadian journal Inscribed.
Still trying to reconcile writing poetry and making
money, she curates Poets Wear Prada, a website
designed to promote poets, their readings and their
poetry (http://poetswearprada.home.att.net); she owns
a small press by the same name.
What inspires you to write and keep writing?
As a child, reading and listening to stories and
poems. I love to open a book and be taken to a
totally different time and place. And to see it
through someone else's eyes, becoming them for a
while, and still living with them, within my mind, in
that place and time even after I close the book. As
an adult, the reaction readers and listeners have to
my words encourages me to keep on writing and to want
to participate in that wonderful tradition of
storytelling as part of my daily life.