Nearing the Finish Line

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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Walking very slowly, ancient Wally's
right behind his ancient Molly who's
stepping down the garden path,
her first time out in weeks,

wobbly still on her new knee.
She's been housebound far too long,
leg propped up, reading books, gazing out
the window for some sign of Spring.

She wants to trust her Wally when
she sends him out to check her garden
and he comes back bubbling to say
"Spring has sprung, my dear"

but Molly needs to see that for herself.
Wally may have missed a sprig or sprout
and it would not be the first time.
On a lovely day, many years ago

when they were young, didn't Wally claim
a patch of dandelions were crocuses?
So now Molly hobbles out on a silver cane
and leans slowly down the path

toward the first of seven gardens with
Wally right behind her, arms outstretched,
ready to catch her if she slips, a man
wearied now by many weeks as caregiver.

He's a man of many years, most of them
spent in a hurry until his stroke, a factor
that's a hallmark of their lengthy marriage.
Molly's always careful, Wally not so much.

In fact, he still roars into everything,
a second stroke waiting to happen.
But for the moment he forgets the present
as his memory darts into their happy past

and he whispers over Molly's shoulder,
"Let's take our time, my dear.
Let's make Robert Frost a prophet.
Let's have many miles to go before we sleep."

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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.


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