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Highways and Byways

"remind me fear is safety"

Published onOct 29, 2023
Highways and Byways

Photo by Kindel Media:

Beyond the guardrail,
narrow space cascades deep
into a rocky stream,
strewn with crisp, fresh-fallen leaves.
Across the chasm,
so near to vision,
unreachable by hand or foot,
tall, straight oaks stand sentry.
Their swaying branches gesture,
Indicating unseen meadows just beyond,
Forget-me-not fields,
blue as the unremembered.
Seeing the gnarled metal,
cold and senseless
at the blacktop’s edge,
I hug the center line.
Like you, mother, signs admonish:
Slippery when wet;
Beware falling rocks,
remind me fear is safety.
One day I will eschew
this slow, ascending slalom,
take the leap across,
join you in the melancholy grove.

Mukund Gnanadesikan is the author of the 2020 novel Errors of Omission (Adelaide Books) and the 2023 children's picture book Clarence and Elroy (Pen-It Publications). His debut poetry chapbook, Petit Morts: Meditations on Love and Death, is now available in pre-order from Finishing Line Press.

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