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She Walks Alone

By John L. Swainston

PROMPT — No one noticed ...


(Part I of III)

She walks alone.

In the distance she saw them reaching for the sky.

A forest – green, lush, the scent of redwood trees arriving on the wind.

A marked path at the tree line.

Disappearing into the innards of this massive unknown.

She walks alone.

Within minutes, she is surrounded by bright green ferns.

The sun slowly fades, not into darkness – twilight.

Redwoods reach almost to the sky and beyond sight.

Some are more than100 feet tall and 25 feet wide.

There she stands – stopped to listen:

  • the wind whistling in the branches.

  • birds singing – looking for a mate?

  • now a symphony of sounds – surround.

She walks alone.

The path curves, wonder if it will end.

Does she want it to end? No – never.

Sad that she walks alone.

There is a need to share –

  • this beauty.

  • this moment.

  • this life.


(Part II)

No more do does she walk alone.

Running ahead laughing.

Shoes in hand wanting to feel the warmth of the earth.

Then stops at her spot.

Looked up and yelled –

“I am not alone.”

He is slow – needs crutches to travel the path,

wounded in Iraq.

When he arrives, they share:

the smells,

the sounds,

the breeze,

the butterflies,

the beauty,

of this redwood forest.

He smiles, there is no doubt.

Why, why had he not ever noticed?

Her hair was the color of the trees!

Dropping to his knees, crutches at his side.

Raises his hand, opens his palm.

this is the time.

this is the place.

this is our moment.

In his hand a ring.

She says yes.


(Part III)

She walks alone.

The years have passed.

So, has he.

No one to share this unchanged beauty.

The babies have their own babies.

Live so far away.

No longer interested in walking the path.

She stops and shouts –

“I walk alone.”

No one hears her cry.


John Swainston recently started writing poetry to cope with feelings of isolation. He learned the craft by taking Zoom classes in writing at Turning Point, a cancer support organization. His poetry has been published in the Journal of Expressive Writing, eMerge (the online literary magazine of WCDH), and soon, the Veterans’ Voice. He is a member of the Mystic Poet Society, a group of poetry lovers bound together by their common passion for sacred and ecstatic verse. John is a recent alumnus of WCDH.


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