Forty years on,
she follows the path of his ghost,
a slender and thorned road
that leads to a ruined ecstasy.
Above the carpeted dirt,
she remembers the boy’s twitching mouth,
so unaccustomed to casual pleasure,
and the slow burn of tobacco between them.
The last of the afternoon light
dripped between the hemlocks
and fell upon bare shoulders.
And she, alone, still wonders
if he ever smelled the gunpowder.