Johannes Plenio

She could be a ghost or an angel,
shimmering penumbra

beneath the lampposts circling
this neighborhood elementary

school sidewalk, each circuit
a half mile light unto her path,

and mine, the streets precarious
in the early dark, and she is my age

I see as we near each other,
this morning’s grateful weather

a safe greeting as we pass.
The second time, she seems

to pick up where she left off–
“I am as bad as the young ones

walking and texting. Good thing
I know my path; otherwise

I would have fallen.” I do not see
a cell phone in her hand. Could

she mean me, race walking prayers
for my childhood friend, her

tumble down the surprise
staircase in the night?

Nighthawk Shoots

And how comic if composing
a poem I catch my toe on

a crack in the sidewalk and
down I go falling headfirst

again, and why not laugh
lying at the feet of this woman,

ghost or angel, who offers
to help me up and says,

“I told you so . . . ,”
so I maybe step lightly, aware

she and I carry each, a handful
of repose, the quiet of light

rising from the dark, each circuit
still here, no hurry, lifting our

feet, a soft sound, our communal
prayer, yes, our poem the voice

of two fellow passengers
spinning to earth, laughing.

Lauri Augusti