The autumn storm, pushed East
by the changing wind
stirred by the rising sun,
left the air thick.
A pseudo-potpourri of mildew
and wood ash swam slowly
around the room, wistfully,
like a dream of forgotten things,
once loved but lost.

Through the window he saw a tree.
A few branches still adorned themselves
with curled and fragile leaves,
eager to embrace a resting place.
As he watched, one of the leaves
which struggled in the gale
broke free and was rushed away
beyond his view.

Beyond his view – yes,
what had become of his son,
so eager to see the Holy Land?
He recalled the day at the docks,
helping him with his bags.
His son had been excited
for this new adventure;
Had he been worried also?
His eyes, lips, the line of his chin,
all faded by too many attempts
to recall them.
Had he found that holy place?
Had he lived long enough
to find within himself a holy place?

Pain echoing through swollen knuckles
woke him from his musing.
His wife arose carefully
from where she sat by the fire.
He saw her thinning arms,
once fair with freckled skin,
now blotchy and sinewed.
Seventy-three years of waking
and working
veiled her face with lines and folds.
Her hands, curled and fragile,
quivered in the windless room.

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