You were just out for a walk
you tell Virgil when you run into him on the path —
just taking the dog for a stroll in the woods —
you’re pretty sure you know the way forward
the path may not be straightforward,
but you’re confident you haven’t lost it.
Virgil gestures to a gaping hole,
a gash filled with darkness
where the leaves and rocks
have been pushed aside,
a hole that was not there
the last time you walked this way.
The hole is big enough to drive
your minivan down into it,
and maybe even do a three point turn.
His gaze says,
one must go down in order to ascend,
and the two of you stand looking into the black
while your dog pulls at his leash.
You consider the lions and panthers of your life.
You realize Virgil is here by invitation.
What have you lost? you ponder.
Is today the day to make the descent?
MARK BONICA was a soldier once, and young, but neither of these anymore. These days he teaches management at the University of New Hampshire where he enjoys helping launch young people on their own grand adventures. His poetry and fiction have appeared in the Loch Raven Review, Words Dance, Oak Bend Review, Vagabondage, and others.