Cries for help heard over excited talk, laughter.
A new home, two small children,
acting grandparents here for the week,
Then, the rescue!
You’d gotten yourself up a tree,
no ladder, perhaps it had fallen away.
Neighborly neighbors performed daring rescue efforts,
nervous chuckles as names were shared
all around with manly handshakes once
your feet touched the ground.
Summer nights, I smelled your pipe tobacco
waft onto my patio as sweet as homemade fudge.
We enjoyed nudging with a joke when we met in public,
a wave across our yards over decades of shared mowing,
kids playing too loudly – then grown, moved on and out.
I didn’t speak to you that last time at the store.
You didn’t see me as you made your way down aisle
number three, so I slipped away. I could tell by your
stooped form and gray complexion that you were not well.
I bypass newspaper obits, too many familiar names
among the list, another just this week.
Neighbors told me of your passing.
I would have come to your funeral you know,
or at least have written you a poem.
Instead, here I sit. Still, I wait.
published 8/9/2015, Lawrence Journal World