The traveler had gone this way before
and the route was familiar in its bends
even though the roadside inns he had known
were shuttered closed and eyeless.
At a spring made from snowmelt,
he doffed his hat to cup the cold water,
dousing his sunburnt face
when he saw the town’s stone marker.
He brushed his thumb against it fondly
and in his mind’s eye he cut the forest for grass
returning it to cow pasture, full of forget-me-nots.
A shy girl he had asked to dance on May Day,
decades ago, had loved them,
and pressed them between old books
to preserve them through the seasons.
He rose from aching knees,
knowing he couldn’t stay any longer
or he’d forget where he was going.