Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Signs and Portents, Read from the Margin

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Signs and Portents, Read from the Margin

Article excerpt

"The family will receive friends at home this evening from 7 to 9," Oglethorpe Echo

Wading hip-deep in the snarl and sputter of my mower

The torn grass behind me limp in its green blood

I glance across at the familiar house.

Still now, though unsettled family dogs bark alarm from the back yard,

Protesting my intrusion mid-week and days from any sensible Sunday.

I tidy my lawn for the pending occasion, a neighborly gesture.

A local curious car slows, its driver craning,

Awed by the front porch light shining mid-morning.

The white wreath seems a sudden blossom,

Or perhaps a hollow sun ablaze on the closed front door, a warning.

A certainty of sign more current and personal

Than CNN blaring Balkan eruptions.

At the back door a strange kinsman shakes

The old mop over the porch rail,

Scolding the dogs into silence in a cadence with the flailing,

A ritual erasing the past, though the enduring sun

Catches a sparkle or the settling dust. …

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