Taking a Walk with Issa

by Hannah Mahoney

When I drop by his hut,

Issa is sitting outside on a bench,

his eyes closed to the early sun.

He offers me tea.

I’ve brought plums. We bite into them

and slurp the juice. He laughs.

We head off down the hill,

the grass a delicate green,

soft against our shins.

Ah! he cries, and crouches.

A snail is climbing a rock,

stretching its horns to find its way.

As we continue across the meadow,

grasshoppers arc away

at our approach. We clap

and do a little grasshopper dance.

That’s how it is with Issa.

He has brought some sweet potato

for the bent-backed horse;

we join the cow as she watches

a butterfly’s flight.

On the way back,

we stop at the cemetery,

under the pines.

I once told him

of the expression

“getting over” grief.

He shook his head,

picked up a small smooth stone,

and tucked it into his pouch.

Poem posted to Miriam Sagan’s “Miriam’s Well” blog on 8 August 2017.