“Abduction on the Canyon Rim Trail,” “Hair Stylist,” and “Martin”

canyon rim
Photo by Cosmic Timetraveler on Unsplash

Abduction on the Canyon Rim Trail

I don’t expect

a soupy river to steal you away.

White blood cells explode into whitewater,

filaments of breath sweep


A confounding disappearance into

the thundering confluence.

I fail to see

how water wears down rock.

A little old man syndrome,

your yielding to midday naps

midnight pees.

But, unmistakable:

belching thumps, your laboring heart

on an uphill climb.

Perhaps it’s easier to deny the beginning

of an end.

An innocent hike, rimming

the canyon like rust

brings you to the edge.

I feel you slip.

Like afternoon sun’s toothed shadow

on rock, you fade

in descent to horizon.

I shout to the current,

I don’t want to lose you!

You just smile.

Already, your rapids riding

away, away,


Hair Stylist

After all, isn’t her salon, a refuge

from your household-turned-circus?

A timeout in the crush of work?

Dreary drab sends you to the chair every time.

              She could be a bartender serving

              tonics to counteract an oblivious spouse.

Eyes in the mirror — on yours.

What are we doing today?

even as she knows the color of your world,

kinks in need of straightening.

Intimate fingers massage your scalp.

You open, relief like an upwell of tears.

She weaves absolution,

wraps your head, puts you under heat

where you must

do nothing. Finally.

Shears thin your heaviness,

confessions spill onto the floor. She attends

to inflection, the settling of a body into its space.

Hands stop occasionally to share

what goes down in her household,

You cackle at her jokes like a hen on an egg,

catch threads of wisdom midair.

             Transformation occurs,

             wings lift your psyche.

You want to hug this magician-therapist.

Instead, you schedule a next time,

pay her, say good-bye.

She stashes

all your secrets in her vault.


Martin leans against my bedroom wall

longing to be held.

I take him, rest my chin

on his slim body,

              run my fingers down his

              long neck in mellow song.

Together many years,

some turbulent, some true

like the tchjk tchjk of an old train, steady.

Timeless, his sound resonates within.

              Destined to be my passport,

              transport me elsewhere…

Fingerpicking, notes graze

my skin, plink plink, like rain.

Untethered melodies of youth,

a not-knowing-what-I-don’t-know yields

              to down strums, syncopated,

              surging rhythm, coming undone.

When did schedules drop curtain

on that act? Random Raffi tunes or

conventional Christmas carols rise

from strings, like votives wavering.

              A yearning. Sweet chords,

              bring me back to myself.

Time in the dark

he waits. Me — long gone,

hands unable to find my way.

Melody still hangs in the air,

              begs to merge, my voice,

              echoes the empty highway.

Decades, still searching,

I reach for Martin,

steadfast companion. That old train,

this time, homeward bound.

              Savior in black casing.

              Help me sing my song.

About the Author

Kathy Pon

Kathy Pon earned her doctorate in education, but in retirement has turned to her life-long passion for poetry. She currently studies with Hugo House in Seattle. She and her husband live on an almond orchard in California. Her writing is influenced by both the natural world and subtle threads of gold she finds in people. Her work will appear in Plants & Poetry Journal and was included in Mindful Poetry Moments and The 2022 Poetry Marathon Anthology.