The Muddied Path
Ray Rasmussen, USA
An explosive fight, my wife and I struggling over how to cope with
our two teenage daughters. We agree that they are in trouble, but
not on what to do about it. We both want to believe that we are
still in control, that somehow we can influence their thinking, their behavior.
I slam out of the house, coatless, under gray cloud and drizzle.
Past the meadow where horses graze. Past the stand of tall poplars.
Damn the rain!
Damn the horses!
Damn the poplars!
On the pathway beside the swollen stream, Hokushi's haiku comes to
ashes my burnt hut
but wonderful the cherry
blooming on my hill
He lost his hut. Did he have a family? Likely not. And where in
this dank place am I to find anything blooming?
I follow the twisting trail until the rain lets up. A mist rises
from the creek. Drops hang suspended from spruce boughs. Pink
cloud shows through the canopy.
still I turn my gaze back
to the muddied path