Old man takes his time, he has no choice,
down his flagstone walk to Rural #305.
The daily brown car has just pulled up,
its driver steering from the passenger seat.
Old man will open and shut Rural #305
as the driver has done, then take his time
back to shabby house and cluttered table,
thumbing envelopes and colored circulars.
Perhaps it’s a check from Social Security
or Veteran’s Administration. Or perhaps
another hospital bill, two pages columned
with cryptic, astronomic calculation. Or
a flier from Suite 25-B about hearing aids.
Every few years, a noncommittal update
from his transient daughter. Up to now,
it has never been whatever it would need
to be, for an old man to place it opened
among the pills, remove his glasses, wipe
his eyes with a handkerchief, and suggest
to the stillness: Now let me die in peace.
Russell Rowland is from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. A five-time
Pushcart Prize nominee, he is a past winner of Old Red Kimono’s
Paris Lake Poetry Contest and Descant’s Baskerville Publishers
Poetry Prize. His chapbook, “Train of All Cabooses,” is available
from Finishing Line Press. Recent work appears in Illya’s Honey and
James H. Duncan
Carol Lynn Grellas
M. Travis Walsh