Volume 29, Number 4

Like Always

Every day the door opened at one
Harold stepped out    he never held the door
for her or anyone   he just took his time
one foot then the other down the steps
his cane held out   his sweater buttoned
no one saw him cock his head like a crow
one eye looking up at the sky
judging the weather   it was a fine day he thought
no rain in sight   no damn wind

His bald head   his unshaved whiskers
that cherry pie stain on his shirt
his favorite shirt the one made
of thick cotton like canvas   the kind
he wore in the woods hauling out timber
he was big then, real big
shoulders that tipped a log downhill
he held an axe like a man
bigger than his father

His father   his steps falter a bit
the cane falls to the sidewalk
damn him he thinks   his thin hands
reaching for the cane   his eyes
filling with tears like always

—Bonnie Minden Ward