The raking done, the cut grass bagged and set
Upon the curb, he looks to clear a space
To rest where aching back and deck chair meet.
The twilight settles down at summer's pace
And draws his eye where western sky and sun
Conspire to paint his working day an end
Of gaudy purple fire. And though retired,
He feels the heft of tools still in his hand.
He holds his drink as if it were a haft
Of ash, and thinks of what that hand has done.
The frosted glass of lemonade perspires
As dusk comes on. One sugared swallow
He lifts it, like a chalice, in a toast
To night and all the toil he misses most.
Fugitive Child, Aralia Press, ©
printed in The Formalist. Reprinted by permission
of the author.