He hid out in Kohala’s gulches
eluding police while we locked doors and windows
for the first time in a long while.
We hid out too, sharing stories and speculations,
judgments and opinions, occasional humorous barbs,
“Who shot first and why?”
Avoiding our own gulches--
Attitudes eroded deeply by habits long held
bruising others like torrents rushing boulders out to sea,
actions that exclude and push aside, seeking the sunlit ridge,
eating Power Bars past a hungry climber chewing on a root.
How far beneath fugitive Walter’s desperate facade
lies the mask I show the world?
Drug free, past litigation, again healed, church-going, Facebook entry
with an occasional rant, mostly bouquets seen through rosy glasses.
What sang to brother Walter in the gulches?
Our fear, bullets’ whistle, hunger, bird song?
It’s a reminder to descend somebody’s gulch when they ask,
walk behind to catch them when they slip.
Other times, a step ahead to show the way,
side by side when the path’s wide enough,
Shared gulch, shared path, shared Power Bar.
Virginia Fortner, following an urge to express herself since she began to print, has published essays, poetry, fiction, and children’s stories, and one dissertation. Mostly retired, she met with Montana Writers after being part of Kansas City Writers for many years. Now she puts pen to paper with Hawi folks to write essays, articles, memoirs, poems, and fiction. She recently tried a 10-minute play. Virginia is presently co-writing a surfboard shaper’s adventures, a German showgirl’s life, and a thriller set in Thailand. That leaves a little time for her memoirs revisiting “1949ers” as her family pulled a trailer house across 26 states. www.vfortner.wordpress describes more wanderlust as she taught ESL in China, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia. Her novel, At the Edge, is at North Kohola Library, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.