Author's Note: Scouring the poems I'd like to see published that have anything to do with a theme of harvest, I found these. Not very positive choices, but nevertheless, relevant, at least to my own octogenarian way of thinking. The first is a true tale, the second a sentimental if meaningful ritual of the house.
Out back on public land the men stock up on pheasants at just this time of year, a task I find unpleasant to contemplate. They fear— the hunters—that demand will not be met this fall. They won’t have birds to shoot, the thrill of stalking prey, the man in hot pursuit, the pointer pointing the way. It doesn’t seem fair at all. Last year, a pheasant found a path to a kinder place, our neighborhood. We fed a widowed bird. He paced from door to door, then died beside the road on ground he’d made his own. We miss him to this day, his honk, the pacing of our yards, the trust he put in us. A pheasant’s happy life’s not in the cards.
Before We Drive Away
This stubborn habit that we have before we drive away, to seek the other’s eye and wave briefly, without display acknowledges how moments hold the future fast like fists, the day that one of us is told a final day insists. Make habit place us both in view to catch the other’s eye, lest, absent minded, I—or you— forget to say goodbye.
©2022 Donald Wheelock
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