Creative Writing

Published on November 23rd, 2015 | by TLV News


Poem: “Paths” by Caleb Fisher-Wirth




I used to be so bored with my father’s walks in the woods

And never understand why we didn’t

do something else instead.

My legs used

to hurt and

would become tired.

Now I take these same walks myself, tired when I start out,

because what else is there to do?

The same straight lines, down same paths with their familiar twists and deviations,

Like the inane television programs he is convinced I am obsessed with

— the same new thing every time–

Their hackneyed tropes, their pre-scripted turns of phrase, despite it all their comfort,

the hidden sublime


the familiar object you may see passing by, made new for an instant

by some trick of

the light giving depth to that familiar angle, lending poise and grace to that

Particular mundane moment.

“You have a fucked up sense of humor, you two,” I tell my parents

When they joke in the kitchen, amidst the washing-up,

about leaving each other over silly disagreements , about dying, about

the Earth’s blood starting to run cold beneath us.

And then I can’t be quiet for ten seconds before I follow up

with an even more gruesome one of my own.

And he says “See? You got our worst parts,”

but I know that too, is a joke of a kind.

And those moments echo on forever,

carried aloft by incantations,

wound through the very threads in the tapestry.

We just have a fucked up sense of humor.

We have self-effacing traditions, we people of the sand tribes, we children of Cain,

us white devils and herders of sheep and fishers of men.

We feel the joke is on us,

and so when we tell it, that’s where we seek to make it land.

We walk these paths

because we rarely make new ones,

and besides where else is there to go, that one cannot get to from here?

I am grown now, and so I do not ask why we are not doing something else,

where we are going, what will it look like when I get there?

I walk these paths in the woods

because I cannot be the whole time in the world of men,

its squared-off confines and buzz from electric light,

and yet I cannot bear to part from it for too long.

I walk these paths because my legs need to travel,

because the spring peepers are out this evening and I have problems and work and obligations,

but my mind needs to think these thoughts

as if it has no inkling

of the shape of the thought before it thinks it.

I am tired when I set out and grow less tired as I travel.

I know the path’s shape as I left it last time.

I don’t know when I may return,

but assume always that I will, and that something will have changed,

too small for me to notice through the veil of seeing what I have seen before.

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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