restricted access The Way
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Hindman, Kentucky, November 18, 2012

Standing beside the tree invitesbelief, my spirit or soul answersan easy or crazy waving leaf,or even a motionless leaf, evenin winter the stark unmoving branch—or from a distance the tree itself.But after belief the preachers I heardwhen I was younger never saidwhat happens then. Just go alongand be alive? It's hard to live that way,for me it is. I remember seeing,The Way, in bright letteringon a book, and hearing about the path,and wondering where we are going and whenwill we start and could I bring the dog.That was forty years agowhen I traced my fingers over the letters,and sometime after that I knew,how people suffer and grieve and sit there,like a piece of wire stuck to a post. [End Page 25]

Maurice Manning

Maurice Manning's most recent poetry collections are One Man's Dark and The Gone and the Going Away. A former Guggenheim fellow, Manning has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and is a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers. He teaches at Transylvania University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.