When We Walk – by C Haynsworth


When we walk, the world unfurls in pinks,

greens, and blues. You and I and sky

far from the gray of your apartment,

the glare of the screen. Bad news

turns to birdsong once we’re outside.

I feel sun near my throat when I throw

my head in laughter. Relief and delight

shine in your eyes. We hold hands.


Rainbows and stick-figures transform

sidewalk into canvas. The art gives me hope.

We pass a row of honeysuckles,

and you start to sneeze. I squeeze your hand,

and you lead us down a street we’ve never

walked before. It’s a haven of dogwoods,

trees that remind me of childhood and Easter.


You sneeze again. My stomach growls,

and our shadows look longer now.

Sunset melts the thick white of clouds

into golden wisps. On every walk,

your shoulders droop when the end

becomes inevitable. Dread gathers

beneath your brow, and fear of the feverish world

flashes near my heart. During the return home,

we talk logistics—your virtual meeting Tuesday,

I’m out of paper towels.


Back inside, the AC buzzes.

We check our phones, I shower,

you read. I go to bed early

and try to pray but my mind spins back to

last night’s dream: alligators chasing me

as I run through the woods.

With eyes closed, I sense

a vertical line of light expanding

as you open the door.

You lie down beside me,

and it’s us in this darkness.

We hold hands.

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