When the phone rings in the night to tell him someone’s died
not unexpectedly, and without giving trouble,
he thinks as he lies down of the hurt red setter
he had to shoot, what, forty years ago? His heart flinches again.
His house flowering quietly around him
in this contented suburb, he lies awake until
the trees step out of the shadows. Fifty.
He wonders what he did for the rest of that day
and why he’s never seen, these forty years,
those trees with the ripped and shaggy bark
and under it, the silky heifer skin. That sky
so clean and glittering
it makes you want to weep.
*This poem first appeared in Divan 2 1999