My Beloved

By Tom Davison

Enduring life without you - backpacking alone
Attempting to bury my memories deep in the woods 
Deeper into the southern Ohio woodlands than ever before
Three days without human contact - solely the old trees for company
No trails here - only faint paths left behind by skittish animals   
Staring into the distant woods - entrenched within a prayer-like daydream
Yearning for you - my partner - my beloved
When without forewarning - there you are 
My beloved redbird

Some declare that you - the cardinal - the redbird
Harbor the spirit of loved ones lost 
Reappear as a messenger - harbinger - guardian
Others call it foolish to believe in you 
Are you a visitor from the heavens - or simply a feathered friend?
How can I be certain?
My beloved redbird

I want to acknowledge your divine origin - trust in your purpose
Here - in this chapel of nature - where the deepest peace abides
I want nothing more than to have faith in you - tiny messenger - to truly believe
But a small part of me remains distrustful - uncertain
Why must I doubt - why can’t I believe fully
I fear the voices of ridicule
My beloved redbird

No - stop! 
Please don’t take flight - I take it back - I didn’t mean it
There are no doubts remaining in me - I promise you
I believe in you - recognize you - perceive you 
My Beloved 

Dedicated to the memory of Pat Duty (1939-1995)

Dr. Davison is teaching at two all-male prison facilities in Northern Ohio. He has been deeply moved by his interactions with incarcerated students and has been motivated to create poems and short stories about these experiences. Thomas has started a non-profit Entrepreneurship Services for Felons (ESF) dedicated to providing free one-on-one support services for felons.

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