Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To the Man Who Used to Live in My House

Thank you for the rhubarb and raspberries and sage.
I heard from a neighbor that back when he was a young man raising his family
you taught him to how to prune roses.
Last year he taught me how to find an eye in the stem and make a healthy cut.

I found your pennies under the fringe of grass that grows over the walkway.
I found the bottle opener you kept on ledge in the shed.
I found your cigarette tins full of nails.
I found your garden in shoulder-high weeds.

I’m sorry to say the cherry tree no longer produces fruit
and the pear tree, that must have been young when you were old, needs to be pruned.
The original wooden gutters are still in use but not of much use to anyone
but the starlings that bathe in the streams that pour through the holes.

After every rainfall the garden glimmers with clean shards of glass
and I wonder who lived here before you that dared use our garden as a dump.
I wonder which layer of house paint was yours.
I wonder if the same floorboards creaked under your feet.

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