Annie Przypyszny

Walking Home

from a friend’s house, late enough for night
to have smoothed its satin tablecloth over
the sky but not so late as to worry about specters,
or flying saucers, or whatever dangers the darkness
is supposedly known to offer. Even the emptiness
of storefronts seems benign—chiropractor,
liquor store, Christian Science Reading Room—
their unlit windows not dead
but resting their eyes, as my father says
whenever I accuse him of sleeping. And now
the street softens from business to residential:
brick houses, some with wreaths on their doors,
some still displaying stubborn pumpkins
on their porches. Just two months ago,
I passed by this house, right here, with the blue
shutters; the heart-shaped hydrangea bush was violet
and robust, a hummingbird moth teasing
its blooms as fireflies pressed their thumbprints of light
above the lawn. Now, it’s mid-November, the blossoms
gone, but the darkness does something
to the fallen leaves that makes them appear
gracious and deserved. The house I pass next
has its lights off in every room
save one on the ground floor, whose walls,
I discern from quick glance, are lined with bookshelf
upon bookshelf. Lately I’ve been rereading books
from my past: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,
My Antonia, a few rogue Steinbecks; the experience
of reading each is like traveling down a familiar sidewalk,
towards home. I’m almost back now, my last strides scented
with a mix of a passing car’s exhaust and the cologne
of a man walking his dog—molasses-cookie colored,
glossy eared—not far ahead of me. I haven’t once
looked at the moon. I’m not feeling pensive, I guess.
There’s no wind, just a gentle chill in the air, and
tomorrow is just another journey as short and simple
as tonight’s. Listen, I don’t know if it’s okay to say this
but I’m glad to be here. I’m glad to keep going.

Annie Przypyszny is a poet from Washington, DC who will begin pursuing an MFA in Poetry at the University of Maryland this Fall. She is an Assistant Editor for Grace and Gravity and has poems published in Jet Fuel Review, The Healing Muse, Tupelo Quarterly, SWWIM, and others.

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