Posts Tagged ‘old man’

Old Man of the Road

April 27, 2018

 

At dusk, an old man walks by these country houses.
Sometimes, as children lie in bed, they hear
the distant crunch of his feet in gravel.  Over
and over, but muffled, of course, out on the road.
Impossible to hear except on a warm spring night
when the house is quiet and the windows open
and the summer insects are yet to be born.
Then sometimes again in Indian summer. 

I used to hear his footsteps on our road.
Old man of evening.  Old man of ragged clothing.
I imagined him walking into the dark, never stopping,
but glancing sometimes at my window, wondering
what small child lived there.

 

First published in Kansas Quarterly.

 

Remains of Farm Wagon Behind Our House - photo by Mike Smetzer

Remains of Farm Wagon Behind My Parents’ House – photo by Mike Smetzer

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A Simple Communion: An Old Man Buries His Withered Fruits

June 15, 2017

 

After years of desiccation, an old man gathered
up the withered fruits of what had been his life.
He buried them under the weeds in his garden
and left them to rot.  Inside, he waited his turn.

But in the spring his withered fruits sprouted
and small buds, then stunted flowers came forth.
Discovering his fruits were still alive, the old man
begrudgingly weeded his garden and watered them.

By fall his garden had ripened with tiny fruits.
Because he was still alive, he ate some and found
them sweet and wholesome. He gathered the rest
to make a meal for those who lived around him.  

During the winter snows the old man disappeared,
but his garden flowered in the spring, and in the fall
it gave a small harvest.  His neighbors collected
his fruits and shared them in the old man’s memory.

The next day the old man came home:
“Who the fuck ate my garden!?”

 

Copyright © 2017 by Michael B. Smetzer

A prose version of this parable was published in 2010 on Brother Michael This Morning.

Sad Mike - photo by Mike Smetzer

Sad Mike – photo by Mike Smetzer