The Lonely Sentinel at Old Dorsey Church
"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
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.