We walk in the glory of the fall leaves.
I brush away the acorns strewn everywhere
to make the path smooth for him.
Slowly, painfully, he gets to his feet
and begins to move.

It is no help to remind him “one foot, then the other,”
how the body can step, balancing from side to side.
The words disappear into the maze of his mind.
But his muscles try to remember the pattern.
His thighs tense and tremble.

He tires and stops,
bound again to his wheelchair.
We sit in our circle of woods,
the beech tree gleaming in the autumn sun.

Lari Smith