Arrangement and photo by Carol Bales
Little Gourds in Autumn
He was upstairs doing something
on the computer when she got home
in the rain so she sent him an email
from her recliner rather than calling
from the bottom of the stairs.
Why disturb him. Nothing urgent.
She was weary after a long day
with the ladies who meet every week
and arrange flowers in the Japanese style,
a style where less is more, a style
befitting their age, the ladies agree.
But no flowers today, she wrote.
Instead they arranged gourds,
little ones, in an autumnal way.
She said Victoria hadn’t come.
It’s hard for her with the walker
but her daughter buys her flowers
to make arrangements at home.
Her living room looks like a wake.
We’re better off than Victoria,
better off than a lot of people,
she reminded her husband.
We have to be thankful.
But now it was time for a nap.
She would check the mailbox again
on rising and let him know if the bills
and magazines had finally come.
The postman, she said, is likely
sitting in his van avoiding the rain.
First leaves of autumn.
Slow parachutes this morning
almost at the curb.
A Symphony Lost
Harvey at 80
is losing his hearing.
He can’t hear his wife
when she talks,
a symphony lost.
But at dusk
in the garden
alone in a lawn chair
with a glass of iced tea
Harvey can hear
the whippoorwill ask
and the cricket reply
and that’s all the truth
that he needs.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.