On a winding road this side of South Mountain
which looms beside the less and less quiet valley,
we park the Jeep just past a roadside spring
that streams from a pipe fastened to a rock.
Such an insufficient description, I know,
but you don’t need to see it, just trust
that today as we lift empty plastic jugs from the back
and pop the caps to fill up on the free spring,
I’m stuck in time, or maybe just seemingly so
because nothing passes—not a car, a bike, or a breeze,
not a sound from the songbird likely stuck somewhere
deep in the somewhere trees erectly still on the mountain.
I’m bound by the thought of us here, somewhere
in the muck of life and all that’s falling
each day—each leaf, each dripping drop, each glimpse
of sunlight reflecting from the cascade of uncertain endings.
Someday I’ll ask where this went, where it fell or what it
fell into. But if I stay here, stuck, just one moment more,
I know I’ll find a way to slip this into my pocket,
zip us up, cap these jugs, preserve the roadside spring
that begs us to drink—drink from this leaky mountain,
as if we seek the answers or even know how to ask.
Wes Ward was born in Dover, Delaware, though roots tie him back to Chester County, Pennsylvania, where his dad was raised. Now a familiar stranger to Philadelphia, Wes lives a couple hours due West of Independence Hall and teaches high school English and college writing. He earned his Master’s of Arts in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.