“Little bird, I am a serious man”
He cajoled me, gently tugging my hand,

I was splashing through puddles that lay
between the uneven bricks winding their way through the cemetery.

It should have been an awkward and somewhat creepy place
to be walking late at night.
But I found only peace, and lightheartedness there.
After taking a pleasant cable car ride up to to top of
Pierre Loti to nibble on cheesy toast and slowly drink thick sugary tea
we had decided to walk our way back to the city.

His brown maple eyes watched me bounce around the cracks on the sidewalks
sucking pomegranate juice from the fruit in my palm
and spit the seeds into tufts of grass separating us from the lavish tombstones.

“You are like a little bird, hopping from one moment to the next, so carefree; but I am a serious man, a scholar. I do not hop.”

There are days I can’t believe I left that place. That I would ever board a plane that would take me so quickly and so far away from who I was at that moment.

Especially on rainy Columbus days when the poorly drained streets are clogged with rivulets of soupy water that I must slush through on my way to work.

But every now and then, I don my red and green striped galoshes mismatched with an over-sized yellow raincoat, and go searching for sidewalks free of occupied people hastening to their destinations.

And into puddles, I leap.