The fork, the fish, and the road in the sky

from by Ayla Nereo

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Just as the sun was falling into place
that’s when they woke to a sky of different shades
that’s when they saw all of the age upon their face
to walk the road through, pass on what they knew – then the lines could be erased.

She packed up a song in her bag to hum them through
He built up hearts out of sand for more than two
He said he’d spread them, said he’d let them all to the wind (yeah)
“And ‘cross all the world I’ll feel your heart still.

“Cause the road we walk isn’t paved, my dear
and the fork ahead is drawing near
while the river beside is flowing with tears”
So they looked up to the sky.

“What do you see?” she cried to the clouds
“There is a storm coming soon,” he said with a frown
She took his hand, traced out a shape in the air
“It’s only the whale in the sea up there.”

And as the sea rained down they stood
‘neath the branches of oak and watery wood
a fish fell down from the sky near his foot
he said, “I never believed these stories I heard
but my eyes are now open wide.”

The stones of the path were shined with the rain
reflecting the road on their faces the same
he picked up two stones, placed one in her hand
the other he skipped, saying, “That’s where we’ll land.”

And on they ran in the raining night
Flying by houses closed up and quiet
Then up ahead they saw a light
walked to the window and peered inside

And their faces pressed up to the window pane
the people saw them, they smiled and waved
they said, “please come inside, now won’t you stay?
We’re going to dance, to dance this night away..”

And as they moved their feet in tune
the frames on the wall spun ‘round the room
the pictures inside were stories they knew
the tales that measured out time as it flew
pointing her hand at a black and white face
she said, “I wish we could stay in this place
makes me sad, these things gone past”
“But oh,” he said, “Look at all we’ve had.
At least I’m in that picture frame
at least we shared that time the same
but East of us it’s almost dawn
we’d best move on ‘fore this beautiful night is gone.”

They left with an empty frame in their hands
they held it up to those behind, every child and man
they framed the river of tears silvery sparkling clean
and the whale of the clouds flying two golden wings

“Now what do you see?” she cried to the ground
“There is a fork in the road a comin’ round”
He looked to the left, but his hand was pointing right
Then he raised up the frame, placed it over their eyes

And in the frame they saw between
the grass overgrown and the whispering weeds
“No set way home but let’s see where this leads
We won’t walk alone but the path we will leave
We won’t walk the same but near enough to be seen
Just keep an eye on the nearby winding stream
And keep a foot on the ground as it flies by beneath
‘Cause we’re really not so far apart as it seems
And on my walking soul you can always lean
And with you walking beside I’ll always be
in the stones and the hills and the trees and the fish in the sea
in the clouds and the fork and the frame and in all of my dreams”
And they closed their eyes and stepped.


from Play Me A Time, released January 5, 2006


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Ayla Nereo Nevada City, California

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