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The Golden Road

On a September road I met my son
walking the other way. I had the hill
to climb; he was returning from a run.
No surprises. He
knew I was nearby,
as I knew he was. But precisely where
our paths might meet was a benign surprise.
The road was rutted, plastered with gold leaf.
Did our eyes, as we neared each other, meet?
More of a full-body recognition:
this tall young stranger
striding silently
around a bend, who paused on seeing me
(however I appeared) and then passed on.
Autumnal radiance thickened
by complications. memory, history--
nothing startling, in my mother’s phrase.
The gold road curves.
The living pass the dead.
Old and young acknowledge one another;
then each takes their separate path ahead.
Oh Muse, peel off your dove-grey cardigan.
September, fallen leaves, and cool noon sun:
I rounded a gold curve and saw my son.