BEFORE THE SEASON
A quiet morning in New Hampshire
In June, before the campers arrive
And the weekend guests from out of town,
Pulled along the surface by boats too big for the pond.
We float, Martha and I, on a warm ripple out of the West,
Baucis and Philemon in inner tubes, bobbing gently,
Talking about not much:
About tasks around the cottage:
My can of stain has gone bad, frozen over the winter;
The stoops will return to paint, to latex,
Whose transitory lie upon the pine
Gives need and hope of tasks to come;
About our girls, their families,
The lives they have made for themselves in other towns.
They will be here soon,
Their children clambering over
The same remembered rocks along the shore.
Years ago, when we would pack to leave, the four of us,
My mother said, “Our summer is over.”
Across the pond the meadow waits for haystacks.
That evening a sudden rain sparkles,
Drops of orange, yellow, pink
Dance iridescent in the early afterglow.
There will be other days like this
But none better.
My neighbor is on his ladder,
Taking down the Christmas lights;
His wife has gone inside to rest,
Just home from her chemo.
I start to say something like
Well, time to pack ’em up
For another year
But decide not to.
AT THE SENIOR CITIZENS SPRING LUNCHEON
The lady across the table felt faint,
Her eyes rolled upward.
Our doctor friend, retired,
Caught her, attended to her
So calmly as to keep us from
Able to continue our salad of
Grilled chicken, feta cheese,
A mild heart attack, he thought.
First responders responded.
The luncheon went on.
Some people on the other side of the tent
Did not notice.
Robert Demaree is the author of three book-length collections, including After Labor Day (2014) published by Beech River Books. He presents poetry readings, seminars and workshops in North Carolina (October through June) and New England (June through October.)
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