There is a parking lot in Virginia where plastic Wal-Mart bags now blow
To find a fence post 4 miles out or a lone tree still standing, planted the year before
Where carts sit forlorn forgotten in corner spaces with empty coffee cups
And subways sandwich bags with balled up paper, like foxtails for child’s play,
are windswept with kennel syndrome
Thrashing within the lattice walls of their prison
I can stand and listen for the creek; car motors, doors, and horns
And the vibrating plastic hum of cart wheels over rigid pavement
I can smell the winter breeze of idling engine exhaust
And the bed bath beyond scent of subway sandwich bread and of cigarette smoke
Where once a wood burning chimney and the subtle decay of leaves let on that winter
And a man on the horizon across an ancient field dimly made out from my place behind the tree line would be seen with an armful of wood, and life told me that man was my father, but I told life otherwise and turned my back, going deeper into my haven through thorn and bramble, alone
I stand alone now over flattened plastic flasks of Fireball nips
Beneath light poles with bird spike branches
Thinking of my blood beneath this blacktop
Am I as lost to this world as the forest which once grew in this place, now paved over
with market growth
Where my legs first felt the cut of thorns
And my imagination climbed the tops of every tree turning each thick patch of leaves
Can a body so removed from roots bare the weight from these decades of deadfall?
Is this what aging is like?
Or am I now on the dying side of life?
There is a parking lot in Virginia where as a child I hid away whole days
To find within the forest a sanctuary
A sanity away from abuse, away from the know life
And now as a man I stand vulnerable beneath light poles and profit margins
Where the machines are still cutting decades after the last wild tree fell.
Garrett Okenka lives in Boulder, but is from everywhere east. He started writing runaway notes at the age of 12 and has been running and writing since.