August Afternoon

Skies overcast, humidity climbing,

and the dregs of summer hang

static in the smothering air,

like swimmers tired of the water

but still too far from shore,

nearly sucked under by dull inertia.

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

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Rock-Taking

Out doing the morning watering,

I notice the plain white van with out-of-state plates

circling my block, turning around, backwarding and forwarding,

finally stopping two doors down.

My suspense building, I can’t help watching closely

while pretending absorption in my gardening task.

And finally, slowly, the driver’s door opens,

and out climbs a woman, spry, but of a certain age,

in an old-fashioned floral housedress

of the kind my grandmother would have worn,

and longish grey hair pulled back

into a simple ponytail.

Pulling on a pair of spring-green rubber gloves,

she bends forward and gets right to work,

her ballooning bloomers showing from behind,

lifting large decorative rocks from my neighbor’s flower bed

and loading them into the van.

I know the activity must have been authorized,

because I think my neighbor might have mentioned

re-doing the bed, and both of her cars are home,

and only the most incompetent of thieves

would have approached her work so slowly and obviously;

and anyway, she often issues odd invitations.

As I turn off the water and re-coil the hose,

the rock-taking strikes me as just the sort of project

that such a woman, having made up her mind,

would undertake early on a Sunday morning

in August at its hottest.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper