I’m on the trail early, want to look
at the tulips again, want to see
if the rabbit is still around. I hear
voices lifted in song, choir-like,
coming from Fairhaven Park,
lilting over Padden Creek. I wonder
if this might be the winding down
of a sunrise service. It is, after all,
Easter morning. Well off the trail,
a gray-hooded man reclines,
his legs fully extended. He appears
engrossed in listening to the choir.
I leave him in peace, continue
down the trail.
Off the lower trail, I find a paper bag
partially crumpled, a couple
of discarded Coors Light cans.
Who is responsible?
East of the last footbridge over
earthen fill, a figure in a sleeping bag
straddles the trail. A figure
which stirs slightly, alive.
I step by gingerly, so as not to wake
the figure. Who is responsible?
Yards away from the estuary I see
a can in a paper bag, another can
on the creek bank. My mood lifts
after I see the tulips and the rabbit
again. I repeat a prayer for peace,
stand watching the estuary,
enjoying the commotion and fuss
of two to three dozen gulls
and crows wheeling and calling
over a man scattering chunks of bread
on the water.
On this day I will be responsible.
I return to the trail, wake the figure,
fear wreckage or sudden rage,
receive neither. A youngish man,
I apologize for waking him, ask
if he knows there’s a shelter in town.
He assures me he isn’t homeless,
assures me he’s on his way to Alaska,
assures me he’s waiting for some
money to come in. I suggest
that a safer place for him to camp
would be in a copse of trees nearby,
tell him a couple of times
I just wanted to make sure you were OK.
I wish him a safe trip, take my leave.
I have more work to do;
I begin collecting the paper bags
and aluminum cans I saw.
I head home with my hands full:
it is, after all, Easter morning —
and I finally have an Easter poem.
Andrew Shattuck McBride
NaPoWriMo 2014 ~ Day 25