The Lonely Sentinel at Old Dorsey Church

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"Leave the GPS in the SUV" I tell my grandson

We stroll down the old road, abandoned two score years

Since the floods of Agnes' wrath broke its path

Slowly reclaimed by nature


"Don't you just love it here, Kiddo? In future years

Walk along this path. Think of me, watching above

Enjoying your relation with nature."


"Gramps, where are we going?"

"Walk, not talk."


Sycamores lit by summer sun in boggy lowland ashore of Patapsco

Reverting forest, thick with leaves from ground to hidden sky

Kiddo's foot sinks into rotten trunk across old Dorsey road

Half the macadam torn off by nature's bath

The rest painted green with moss

Yellow mushrooms widening cracks, forest stalks and purpled sticky flowers

No parishioners down this trail for a double score of years

Old Dorsey Church.jpg


Dragonflies, mosquitoes, and butterflies,

The gentle roar of today's placid stream.

Unnatural flat upright surfaces beyond many trees

Kiddo ran up the muddy slope

To glimpse the ancient church.

He stopped, before the door

Concrete walls alive with graffiti.


I puffed up to stand by Kiddo.

A tree grew out from the sunken floor of Old Dorsey Church,

Its trunk vaulted through the long gone ceiling

Low branches and greenery crowded the hallowed interior.


Kiddo hopped across the eroded gap through the doorless entry.


Above the graffiti walls, in the steeple window darkness

A shadowed image loomed amid the dappled sunlight of mid summer


From its elevated perch, a large winged figure dropped down.


The turkey vulture swooped above Kiddo's head.

"Gramps!" He jumped back.


The evil omen pulled up, with a single flap of wide, black wings

It rested its claws on a branch that grew

Through a glassless window.


Beaded eyes sunk deep within the gloom of its body and the site

It watched as Kiddo ran by me to the trail.


The Lonely Sentinel at Old Dorsey Church had claimed another victim.