The Hard Day

Deborah Dashow Ruth

        (For my mother)

I'm trying to move her slowly through
the tangle of uncertainties.
Around and above us dark shapes swarm,
eager to pick off stragglers.

I open a path for her through brambles,
past gopher holes, fallen branches
while she lags farther behind, and I must
unwind my steps back to where she rests.

I don't report what I see up ahead:
the crumbling trail, the craggy edge,
no way of knowing how many before
have stumbled, plummeted over.

As we go I point out flashes
of bright colors, the polished sunset,
hoping to make the trek more pleasant.
On my face, the hot, honeyed air.


Deborah Dashow Ruth, former English teacher and university administrator at the University of California Extension, Berkeley, writes both poetry and plays. A number of journals and anthologies have published her poems, two of which were nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She's been a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers since 1991 and the Dramatists' Guild since 2003. Her first poetry collection, Joyriding on an Updraft, was published in 2016 by Sugartown Publishers. One of her short plays won First Prize in the 2012 McLean Drama Company's Annual 10-Minute Play Contest.

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