“Everyone thought I’d be the first to go”
He said through a little gadget the size of his old Lucky’s.
It was hard to understand his words
But I could read his eyes.
Out back he showed me the raised bed.
It wasn’t neat;
It was immaculate
With a couple of bean vines,
Broccoli starting to mature,
Tomatoes struggling in the Maine light.
Only a few plants occupying the huge space
That last season was teeming with
Provisions for the coming year.
Now lots of perfect soil
Built up with years of composting
Left dark and fallow
For another season.
I heard a digital voice say
“kinda lonesome sometimes.”
“I bet it is. I’m sorry.”
My words felt like useless
Trying to fill an airless vacuum.
It was a long winter
And when I came back in the spring
A handmade sign out front said it all.
“For Sale By Owner.”
One of his kids must have put it up.
The obituary said he died quietly.
He’s not lonesome now.