Ted Kooser

The Old People

From Delights & Shadows. Copper Canyon Press, 2004.

Pantcuffs rolled, and in old shoes,
they stumble over the rocks and wade out
into a cold river of shadows
far from the fire, so far that its warmth
no longer reaches them. And its light
(but for the sparks in their eyes
when they chance to look back)
scarcely brushes their faces. Their ears
are full of night: rustle of black leaves
against a starless sky. Sometimes
they hear us calling, and sometimes
they don’t. They are not searching
for anything much, nor are they much
in need of finding something new.
They are feeling their way out into the night,
letting their eyes adjust to the future.

Poem copyright Ted Kooser, used here with permission.