The Forest Walk – Charles Simic

Today we took a long walk in the forest.
There we met a couple walking
Arm in arm with eyes closed.
The forest is a dream you had
When you were little, they told us.
Then the two of them were gone.

Even in the afternoon the narrow path
Was busy with shadows.
They had many dark secrets among them,
The trees did.
Shhhh is all we kept hearing.
The leaf we plucked and held in our hands
Appeared genuinely frightened.

The night threw open its birdcage.
The trees pretended to protect us.
In a fit of passion they'd rise
Against the slightest sough of wind,
Only to fall back
Into long minutes of listening.

Let's stay here tonight, you said,
And I agreed, but then we didn't.
You had left the key in the car,
And the video store was about to close.
We were running now.
We could see the ice-cream truck.
We could see the plane's landing lights.
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