As Beautiful as You

As I sat by myself in the park,
on a bench among trees
reading quietly,
a man walked up to me.

Spritely and slim, well-dressed,
he stepped quickly
upon the fallen leaves and asked,
“Can I help you read?”

I laughed as he approached;
indicating the books by my side,
I said “well, sure — I have three, actually.”
“Three?” said he.

He landed himself squarely
next to me,
occupying the bench
quite solidly.

“You could sit on my lap,” he joked,
and taking a book in each hand,
continued on —
“We could read one over here,
one over here,
and one in the middle.”

I was at a loss for words,
but he was full of them,
this respectable-looking man
who could have fathered my father.

With a hand on my shoulder,
he set down my books.
Chuckling, he hopped back up
from the bench.

“I’d better go,”
the man told me.
“If my wife sees me here,
she’ll throw me into the river.”

I laughed, for lack of any
more appropriate response.
I began to wish him a good day,
but he had not yet had his say.

He spoke the way newspapermen spoke
in old black and white films —
“—‘course, as beautiful as she is,
she’s not as beautiful as you are —“

which he punctuated with
a rapid fire
“wow wow wow.”
I could not make this up if I tried.

I blushed and thought of his wife,
likely far older than me,
who should not have to suffer
such comparisons.

I saw in my mind her sun-spotted skin,
mottled with age, crinkled
around the corners of her eyes

I imagined hair whose color
has been leached by the years,
and I thought to myself,

It will be a long while before it is I
who will be as beautiful as she.

I should have told him so.

for Chris

A reluctant pink sun
rises in the Eastern sky
while I’m finding it difficult
to open my eyes.
You come to my side of the bed
in the dark
kiss my cheek, say ‘I love you’
then head off to work.
My mornings start slower than yours,
this is true
and sometimes I feel
it’s not quite fair to you.
My days, my demands
are much different from yours.
The tasks you perform,
they require much more –
more than I can offer,
more strength than I’ve got,
but I show mine in other ways.
A weak person, I’m not.
Yet I struggle, my love,
in ways that you don’t.
You struggle to understand –
it’s not that you won’t.
Minds must be separate,
though hearts are entwined
and my days must be different,
so I hope you don’t mind
if I’m not early to rise,
for you know I’m still here,
listening to your morning sounds,
grateful that you’re near.
I’ll be here when you return
from the places you roam,
open-armed in the doorway
welcoming you home.

Autumn Bees

I shoot the breeze with the bees
harvesting pollen from autumn weeds
for their late season honey.

I wish them good luck,
make it home to your hives safely –

Cold temperatures are near,
huddle up with your families.


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