Shadows of the Heart

By Larsen Bowker


I’d always assumed we all get some small bit

of wisdom before we die, believing it came


from some centrifugal force of the mind, but at

nearly eighty and no sign of any, I was scaling


back on this gentle hubris, until I heard some

in a friend’s voice as we talked about a ritual


Valentine dinner with our wives . . . words swift

as a swallow’s flight through the air at dusk,


and slow as the pyramid’s shadow, guiding me

toward that place where the singing comes from,


where memory grows on the Black Walnut tree he

brought from his and planted in my backyard half


a lifetime ago. I no longer own that backyard, but

the tree still sings the lime green lyrics of spring,


the dark green song of summer, and yellow and

gold arias of autumn—incorruptible witness to our


endless search for renewal of that thing we can

never name, but for which we search all our lives.