Eavesdropper on the Grass
A park bench and a drinking fountain
are the furniture of this hill
overlooking a lake in the middle of the city.
A pigeon perched and preening on the fountain,
an old man on the bench.
His hand, shaking a little as it lays beside
him, is filled with corn.
I am an eavesdropper on the grass of my mind.
Wish Letty were here,
poor Letty, five and the fever got her,
on my knee, those baby arms wrapped,
I wish I could remember her face,
he said to the pigeon.
The pigeon darts a look
at the palsied, wrinkled hand.
In the distance childrenís voices mix
with the stirring of the trees.
Oh, when I was a boy
the times we had
racing down the path,
no park then for play, no fences,
hills of foxtails for socks,
Mama always doing for us,
we paid her no mind for
socks always clean and darned.
The pigeon takes one careful step
then cocks its head.
Young Jimís a hot shot lawyer now,
times I wiped his nose,
boxed his ears good when he took to teasing
baby Ann, with those blond curls.
A smile creased his face and was gone.
On the back of the bench now
the pigeon rubes his beak
and hops closer to the corn.
Cora used to say
I had a way with animals.
Ah, that woman had a tongue on her,
could bite sour
or talk so sweet.
Spoke her mind she did.
Youíll die of booze
before my hair turns gray,
You were wrong that time
that tongue killed you first,
he nodded at the pigeon.
Had to drink to soften the words,
She took all that anger with her.
He looks up as if he can see the anger
floating around him in ghostly fury.
The pigeon quickly takes a kernel
from the hand
then flies back to the safety
of the drinking fountain.
The childrenís voices
fade into the distance.
The old man is not snoring
as he usually is this time of day
on this park bench.
His head, after jerking once
rests on the back of the bench,
and his hand is finally still.
†In the dew of little things,
the heart finds its morning
and is refreshed.
[This message has been edited by Martie (edited 01-26-2000).]