Eighty-six on the porch, he says,
Wiping his face with a sweat-soaked red bandana.
That’s in the shade, he adds,
And takes a pull from the water jug.
Beaded condensation runs off the sides
Of the pottery and down his neck,
dark stain spreading across his shirt.
Can’t recall a hotter day this time of year.
His eyes wander:
heat shimmers on the concrete walk,
shines on the coat of the black Lab dozing in new-cut grass.
Hay will dry fast in this weather. It’s perfect for hay
at least, but tough on old geezers like me.
He smiles; he does not think he’s an old geezer, really,
though white streaks the black of his hair
and lines burrow deep across his brow.
His hands are like well-aged leather
left too long to the elements;
the gold of a band glints on one finger, a ring
he put on sixty years ago and forgot to remove
When she traveled on.
Back to it, he says. Hay and God wait for no man.
He limps from the porch,
past her roses and disappears
into the bright May sun.