December 03, 2006|By Ted Kooser | Ted Kooser,Special to the Sun

The first poem we ran in this column was by David Allan Evans of South Dakota, about a couple washing windows together. Here Tania Rochelle of Georgia presents us with another couple, this time raking leaves. I especially like the image of the pair "bent like parentheses/ around their brittle little lawn."

- Ted Kooser


Anna Bell and Lane, eighty,

make small leaf piles in the heat,

each pile a great joint effort,

like fifty years of marriage,

sharing chores a rusty dance.

In my own yard, the stacks

are big as children, who scatter them,

dodge and limbo the poke

of my rake. We're lucky,

young and straight-boned.

And I feel sorry for the couple,

bent like parentheses

around their brittle little lawn.

I like feeling sorry for them,

the tenderness of it, but only

for a moment: John glides in

like a paper airplane, takes

the children for the weekend,

and I remember,

they're the lucky ones -

shriveled Anna Bell, loving

her crooked Lane.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06. Copyright 2003 by Tania Rochelle. Reprinted from "Karaoke Funeral," Snake Nation Press, by permission of the author.

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