Retreat or Daydream of the Prodigal Son

I can feel I’m coming nearer
by the rising and falling of knolls
rolling the highway through the night—
rhythmic, as though I’m inbound
on the Appalachian’s undulating
pulse returning me to its heart.
By morning I’ll bear witness
to the waking of hills, proud
tops towering over fog shrouding
the river’s ancient course. My
destination is paradise tucked
in amongst them, and at its kitchen
table the spoken word is a waste
drowned out by the conversation
of birds set to the wind chimes’
improvised tune. I will fixate
on the trees until the cardinal’s
red streak, and savor a sip
of bourbon’s sweetness on my
lips. My heart is the prodigal son’s—
wanting for peace as one dying
of thirst seeks water, glad to pay
for its healing of wounds
with the embarrassment of retreat.

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