A Walk

By Nick Reading

Every day I try again. To see if
I can make it without saying a word.
A penance for a voice that said too much.  

A fight. An honest thought. Something stupid.
All plain words that plainly hurt. Walking
in these woods today with the snow as light

as an eyelash is dreadfully cliché.
But no less a boot print. No less my hand
holding my son’s. He, too, is silent. Past

nap and late for snack. We point at a loon
surfacing and stare for a little bit.
To explain its genius would ruin it.

And when it is late in the afternoon
we will collapse into a snowbank
with grunts as we hold our silence in pocket.

As surrender to wrong-headed fathers.   
As if fears didn’t need to be named.
We grow colder and my son’s grip tightens

with a strength I hope is never linked to anger.

Nick Reading is the author of Love & Sundries (Split/Lip Press) and The Party in Question, winner of the Burnside Review Chapbook Contest. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Twyckenham Notes, Mid-American Review, Cortland Review, Painted Bride Quarterly and others. Visit him at www.nickreading.com.

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