The morning grows duller in our ascent
to the caverns, each rounded berm broken
through with bits of grey sky. Tom yells over
his shoulder with tips on the trail ahead:
Big root! Pothole! Poison Ivy! We heed
his cautions by staring at our feet, heads
all bowed like a row of hooded herons
at high tide, ready for any tickle
or flash of fish to make a covenant
of. It’s as if I am beyond my feet,
a spectator to their quick decisions.
A soft rain begins. We are almost there.
I know you can’t stay in that grace, having
hazards called out for you. Not for too long.
Jess Williard‘s poems have appeared in Third Coast, North American Review, Colorado Review, Southern Humanities Review, Barrow Street, Lake Effect, The New Orleans Review, Sycamore Review, Bayou Magazine, Iron Horse Literary Review, Oxford Poetry, and other journals. He is a doctoral candidate at Georgia State University.