On a long journey. The road darkened like glass
after the candle behind it has guttered.
I met the forest there like a corner rounding everywhere.
Birds who’d never heard themselves before were asking
for their names. Though we could hear the train beyond the ridge
we knew it was empty except for a woman anxious
she’d missed her stop as she dozed. We walked but I could not hear
your step behind me over the sound of the leaves growing.
I am tracking a number in the dark. It keeps changing typeface
to throw me off the trail but it is the only set of tracks ahead of me.
Even as I slow down I am accelerating. Your own footsteps
are catching up to me but I am afraid the number ahead will tire
at last and I will catch it, panting on a hip-high rock among the pine.
I should go back to the woods in the daytime, who ever thought
you were nocturnal, and in the light splaying
among the leaves I am not afraid of numbers.