The trees have forgotten summer,
have drawn up slim and dark
against the morning’s gray cold,
like the woman standing by the man. 

The canvas bag at their feet
shows black beneath the dust.
It holds everything but the clothes
they’ve worn since yesterday;
her purse, its emptiness punctuated
by handkerchief and hairbrush;
and the cigarettes and matches
a stranger gave him last night. 

They are husband and wife, or lovers.
They are childhood sweethearts
become best friends against adversity.
Or supplicants, praying for tomorrow. 

The road behind them curls
like a river taking the easy way,
not really caring where it goes
as long as it’s someplace else.