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May sunshine, and the old professor
sits on his deck
eating a cold beef sandwich
while just above the grass
the sparrows trampoline
wind currents as if they’re
guided by remote control.

The wren’s so happy
he can’t contain himself
and the house finch flits
from tree to bush, her neck
bright red against the green.

“I could sit here all afternoon,” he thinks,
“listening and looking.”
This morning he read
a freshman paper which told him
that “old people are waiting for death
and content with their surroundings.”

Most of the perennials
have sent out shoots of green.
He imagines them slowly growing,
eating rain and sunshine
to stack cells one against another
calmly working toward a flower,
pushing up, up.

Photo by Roma Kaiuk🇺🇦 on Unsplash

Dave Schelhaas

Dave Schelhaas is the author of a book on word histories called Angling in the English Stream, a memoir called The Tuning of the Heart and three collections of poetry including his most recent collection Tounges that Dance.

One Comment

  • Mark Hiskes says:

    Dave, love this poem! And I especially appreciate how your perennials, who are steadily “pushing up, up” answers to your student’s comment. Now that I’m retired, I can also better understand, “I could sit here all afternoon.” The family of house wrens living in the bird house off the back porch are as rich a diversion as any novel.