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Not because I’m beautiful, but because
I was the only one out this morning,
rooting out standing weeds,
raking red and yellow leaves,
“putting the garden to bed,”
the old man rubbed his raspy cheek
against mine, kissed my fingertips.
He is no curly-haired boy
who drops to one knee to ask me to dance.
He tears off summer’s dress,
exposes trunk and limb, threatens
worse coming. Yet he brings gifts:
red birds among the berries, clear nights,
Orion’s diamond stars, ermine streets.
Copyright 2019 Arlene Weiner