Learning the Benefits of Walking by Carol MacKay

Poem title: Learning the Benefits of Walking

Poet name: Carol MacKay

Poem: April light slumped against the Wheat Pool wall, across baseball diamonds, onto the garage where you said cars frequently stalled, ghosts of unfulfilled promises wept. You gave the Stephen King version of town. You knew what I was reading. That young evening and those growing thereafter could have been spent walking, walking heart to health, lungs to breath. You are too slow, I said. We could have walked to the outskirts on the graded road to farms, a section at a time, onto highway 14, back into town past Albrecht’s Garage, the Alberta Tavern, down main street, home. But, no.

Come, walk with me now.

Along the Little Qualicum River I will stop, point out the Belted Kingfisher. It rattles by only once, and it’s always in a hurry. Bald eagles and turkey vultures will circuit the painter’s sky. There are bears, yes, but don’t worry. We will talk so much they won’t bother us. You might see a River Otter. We will go early, before the salmon spawn, at least before they line the channels like tragic strips of aluminum foil. I promise to walk your pace, slowly as you like.

End of poem.

Credits and bio: Copyright © Carol MacKay

Previously published in 150 X 39 Poetry Anthology, Vancouver Island Regional Library, 2017.


In 2023, Carol’s poems have appeared in Sea & Cedar magazine and in several anthologies including The World Around Us 2023 (Ontario Poetry Society), The Ultra Short Verse Anthology (Ontario Poetry Society) and the League of Canadian Poets visual poetry chapbook, Spectral Lines. “Maidenhair Fern,” was selected as the 1st Place winning poem in the 2023 Wine Country Writers’ Festival Competition.