At least once or twice or three times every day
the old man and the boy
walk the two kilometers downtown,
from the Karl Ristikivi Museum,
their home for a few weeks during the old man’s
Tartu Writer Residency.
The old man loves to see all the children and young people
walking and running and bicycling
up and down the wide paths next to the roads and
through the parks.
Estonia has only been a free and independent country
for twenty eight years. He sees and feels
youthful spirit everywhere. It fills the air.
At the crosswalk a car slows then stops.
The old man is astonished;
pedestrians really do have the right of way
here in Estonia.
Walkers, runners, and bikers don’t even pause,
they keep right on moving
while the car or truck comes to a complete stop.
The old man takes the boy’s hand and they walk quickly
across the street. They take their time
climbing and crossing Toome Hill, then descending
under Angel’s Bridge, down the winding cobbled streets
of old Tartu to the 13th Century St. John’s Cathedral.
The old man has always liked old churches and
graveyards. They take a seat on the seventh row.
The priest stands and reads a passage
from the back of the Bible, in Estonian.