Bio Note: My wife has always said that friendships need maintenance and, though I write poems about manual labor, yard work and tools, I also write about lost friends (for whatever reason) and my negligence of them. Much of my poetry is a perpetual apology. All friendships are selective, I suppose; I have been married to my wife for over fifty years.
Turn of Season
for Heather and Jessica In October’s early morning chill, before yellow jackets warm and venture from gaps between cornice and brick, I scoop debris from the hanging gutters— death-smell of dew-wet duff, body armor of summer beetles, spider lint. From the high ladder, I watch my children in knit and denim, fall into piles of poplar and oak leaves, with a brittle crushing of hard candy and they lie skyward with the abandon they will someday leave there. After I work downspout to downspout, they invite me into their joyful play. They already know that snow will fill these same gutters soon enough and laugh at that cleverness. They will know too, the world’s reprieve.
for Steve and Madeleine Rain at the beach means grumpy children. Madeleine dumps the box with a shuffle. Bright crabs peek from the sand-colored back sides. She calls them to the table as if for a birthday party. No one questions that two thousand pieces will make something of themselves. Only Steve, with heretical tease, studies the pictured object of their art, the surety of their adventure. Enthusiastic adults coax from sulky kids a logic of line, flat edges odd among the unknowns they must paint by eye. Like shore birds jogging tides, they divide those abstract innies/outies— the quotients of a whole life are piled— dunes laced with sea oats, blues of blue, pastels of rental cottages. They try the sense of them, work the GPS of hues, celebrate each match like an epiphany. Restless kids ask how far it is, each piece of time falling into its proper place, reducing the challenge of patience. Houses are from a postcard’s point of view, are strict geometries which differ only by decks, dormers, and lunettes. They are toy blocks castled on shifting sands. The puzzle offers a beach parable— only by skill can chance be made useful. No wonder it seldom rains in picture puzzles. The honor of the last piece, like a birthday wish, goes to the youngest, completing the window of one tiny cottage. They see a family, gathered around a table. A lighthouse up the beach stands ready for bedtime.
©2023 Frederick Wilbur
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to say what it is about the poem you like. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL