Don't kick it yet, Mr. Morgan

Florida winter just arrived.
Our pond is carpeted with plush green lily pads.
I saw the softshell turtles swift return.
Each came alone from the other pond and
crossed the street without automotive incident.
You rolled your frail frame to the common mailbox.
Mr. Morgan, they made it and so can you.

Did you grip the curtains and see clouds of black-robed
turkey buzzards coming for days this June?
I hoped you were at the rehab center, Mr. Morgan.
Each night the nascent moon shone spotlight on another shelled carcass.
The heavy birds stood sentinel bending longleaf pine boughs.
You have left it to us to guard and marvel from our porch nearby-
a young family of fire watchers dreading the flame.
Mr. Morgan, our pond is so low.

Don’t kick it yet, Mr. Morgan.
You may still get a second grandchild
to settle stern in your lap and steer the mower.
Come over and let us beam at his bare feet.
I will leave my writing and turn off the stove and fuss over him.
I will show him the black racer by the swing set-
how its jaws are gripped tight around a toad.
Mr. Morgan, it has been dying all day.

Don’t kick it yet, Mr. Morgan.
I will replace the new suburb in your side yard with a
dark green palmetto hammock thick with beauty berry for birds.
I will hurry the gopher tortoise back home,
Dump buckets of summer rain and blanket the banks with bullfrogs.
I will lay a quilt in the back yard while I wave at you across our pond,
gather children under my chin and give us a long look up.
Mr. Morgan, those birds are back, drawing circles in our sky.

About the Author:
Lorena Parker Matejowsky was born and raised in Galveston County, Texas. She currently lives in Central Florida with her husband and three young children.