Prodigal*

 

How many longing looks

would it take to erase

the ache that wracked his bones?

 

Driven every evening

to dull his memory asleep

he would scour sky and earth

for a speck of life

along the lonely valley road

till his eyes clouded over

with the bitters of the past.

 

Suddenly his forehead flushed.

His face broke wide and pricked

his heels with a stride

that belied the ravages of winter.

 

When he finally gathered in

the wreckage of his son

in the clutch of a lifetime,

his eardrums burst the frail

confession like ashes in the wind

of his own resounding melody--

at last a second chance.

 

 

            Jerome L. McElroy

 

 

 

*Accepted in Ligourian (June 2005).