He came upon me suddenly, and we both paused
that morning in the yellow wood. Perplexed, he faltered
between me and the other road he'd been traveling.
(Until that moment, I didn't even know we converged, she and I.)
For a heartbeat in eternity, he leaned into me—
watching dust motes swim in the sunlight,
hearing birdsong flutter among my branches,
even putting one foot forward on my rustling, leafy pavement—
then he drew back. I could hardly blame him;
I didn't know where I would lead him
any better than he—it's different with every traveler.
Yet I wanted so to see where we might go together;
my grasses would bloom beneath his gentle step.
But a path cannot draw any traveler on
against his will. I could only beckon
with birdsong and sunlight dancing with shadow
while he swayed at our convergence.
The yellow leaves trembled. A single maple wing
spiraled to the ground as he sighed
and started again down the other path.
And still I ache with the absence
of his gentle tread. My grasses may wilt with wondering,
If he had chosen differently—? but, no.
Two roads converged in a wood, she and I,
And he took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
EYN August 2011