The sun came up

silver and cold

like a dime

in the palm

of the ominous

November sky.

Low strata of gray

clouds are banked

creating a false horizon

that appears to be

a range of mountains

where there are none.

There are no birds

although I scattered

seed for them as always.

Inside, in the warmth,

my wife is bathing

for work at the library

where she will pander

books to the unwashed public.

I sit on the porch

smoking my usual cigar,

drinking my usual coffee,

and preparing for my usual day.

And that—that is my daily problem—

how to spend my time until

my wife comes home

to the dinner I will prepare for her.

Now that I am retired

my days are predictable—

I take my meds

religiously and try

to ignore the pain

and all the many

signs of my physical

decay and corruption.,

I do a little reading,

a little writing, television

and naps with the dog and cat—

the house clean and so silent

that I’ve begun to talk to myself,

and to a God I’m trying

to rediscover. My beautiful son

is at a suburban mall selling

exotic teas to recreational shoppers.

His girlfriend is trying to teach art

to inner city children who have no

use for it or her.

Sometimes to pass the time,

I page through old

photo albums, a record of my

seventy plus years—

my sad adopted sister, my ancient crazy mother,

my sweet soft-spoken father

now two years younger than I,

and I wonder at how young we were,

how expectant we were of life,

not knowing yet our failures,

our disappointments, and follies—

how we were to be undone.

I look up from writing this

to discover that the birds have arrived—

the bright cardinals, the fat doves,

the blue jays, and the many sparrows—

and I—I am feeding my flock,

learning God’s presence in them,

in their color, grace, and song.

Sometimes it seems I am writing

the same poem over and over

again, like a memorized

prayer, asking to know the joy of God

in all things—even in the creature

He set forth in The Garden—

the creature He made in His own

image and called Man.