GROCERY SHOPPING, EASTER MORNING
The supermarket is not crowded:
Shoppers up and down the aisles
With a calm seriousness,
Notebooks of coupons, unadvertised specials,
A kind of reverence, the sense that
Perhaps they should be somewhere else.
For some it is like any other Sunday,
With its own rituals:
Young couples in tennis get-ups
Admire their children, make plans.
An older couple ponders produce:
For her it is a day fraught
With memory, a father gone;
For him, one of two days in the year
When those metaphoric readings
Simply will not fly.
Midnight: an unexpected snow
Brightens our court at Golden Pines,
Thick whiteness caught in amber streetlight,
Moist cotton balls, fluffy on our small trees
In the clear Piedmont dawn.
It’s beautiful, our neighbors say,
Thinking of other places they have lived.
On my seventieth birthday I drive into town for barbecue,
Listening to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons,
Their soaring falsetto harmonies
From sorrowful New Jersey towns
Not far from my own,
The undertow of time,
Those unchangeable places of our birth
That took some of us a while to figure out.
At the funeral home, the casket truck,
Up from Mississippi, makes a stop:
The routineness of it.
It is afternoon, sixty degrees,
And, of course, the Carolina snow is gone,
Except for fringes in the roof’s shadow,
And by the curb, graying,
Like other snows I’ve seen.
“Yesterday’s Snow” appeared in Poets’ Touchstone Winter 2009
Muffled in the rustling of papers,
Sign here, initial there:
We have sold the house:
Same family, same ’phone number.
Scott and Alice are young;
They will redecorate
With colors I do not need to see.
What follows we choose to call
The next part and not the last.
Alice will have to pick up
The rest of the fallen camellia blooms.
“Closing Costs” appeared in Still Crazy January 2008