Night-Walking the Camino de Santiago
Michael Mark

Night-Walking the Camino de Santiago

While she sleeps, I carry her back
to where we began two days ago. I snore

in her ears as we cross footbridges
so rushing waters won’t wake her, hum

lullabies as trucks pass, wait in alleys
for taverns to empty—to postpone

our arrival at The Cathedral. When
she says, “This pasture, this cow,

looks familiar” and “Haven’t we picked
this orange grove?” and sniffs her clothes

as we approach the fishery and asks me to smell
mine, I praise her auspicious prophesies,

“Such vivid dream-visions,” I tell her, awe
shivering my voice, “they manifest before us!”

My child’s feet are mere sores, shoulders
furrowed by her pack’s straps—still, she is

not ready to complete her Camino. Santiago,
how will I know when? Such is the father’s burden:

to continue on and backwards and again
wait, worrying I am doing her harm,

that I have missed Santiago’s one sign.

Michael Mark

is the author of Visiting Her in Queens is More Enlightening than a Month in a Monastery in Tibet, which won the 2022 Rattle Chapbook Prize. His recent poems appear in Copper Nickel, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, Sixth Finch, Southern Review, The Sun, and 32 Poems.