“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 walk in 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.
Half the macadam torn off by nature’s bath
Kiddo’s foot sinks into a rotten trunk sprawled across the old road
The rounded wood 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 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 door-less entry.
Above the graffiti walls, in the steeple window darkness
A shadowed darkness loomed amid the dappled sunlight of mid summer
From its elevated perch, a large winged figure dropped down.
The turkey vulture swooped down to Kiddo’s hair.
He jumped back. “Gramps!”
The evil omen pulled up, with a single flap of wide, black wings
It rested its claws on a branch that grew
Out a glassless window.
Beaded eyes sank deep within the gloom of its body and the site
It watched as Kiddo ran by me to the trail and away.
The Lonely Sentinel at Old Dorsey Church had claimed a victim.