Flocking blackbirds foretell nothing except an early and colorless fall.
Apples are rotting off the tree. This is not a year for walnuts.
Small town biddies congregate to complain and offer solutions
that end in their deaths. They compare themselves to us
and find us failing – but forget to leave a gratuity for the waitress
feeding young children on her tips.
I walked by our old house yesterday. The new tenants
have trampled the bright orange poppies
I preferred to let grow wild among the weeds
in front of the porch. I missed the blooming of the magnolia tree
(I always associated it with good luck) and the roses
will make no appearance this year. The curtains were the wrong color
and they are not making proper use of the summer room.
I felt foolish walking up Pumpkin Hill,a stranger
on a street that were familiar, once upon a time.
But to be fair, I have always been a stranger.
Geography where I am known no longer exists
and memories of me are slowly wearing away
like an old quilt exposed to the elements.
Only the neighborhood dogs remember me and do not bark.
We lock eyes and nod the way creatures of the Earth do –
they are jealous of my roaming, and I of their perpetually full water bowls.
The self-appointed town exemplars know not what to make of me.
They speak of politics and invisible conspiracies.
They go to church on Sunday, berate the poor and bully the meek,
then collect the weekly tithe for soulless electoral campaigns.
(It's true, I suppose that some things will never change.)
I no longer have to fear your reaction when I come home
smelling of bourbon and misplaced rancor. Yet
I still paused at the top of the hill before I turned the corner
to check my breathe, make sure I was walking straight.
Nothing is in it's place. Everything is where it belongs.
My feet tell me I ought to keep walking. Only 10 or so miles
to the river, the Great Baptismal Western Boundary,
past which there is Iowa to contend with:
fields of corn burned before the harvest,
farmers who can't remember a season
that wasn't plagued with either fire or floods.
But at least, I will be redeemed when I meet them.