Life Story: Thirty-Nine Lines By Emily Strauss

                          Life Story: Thirty-Nine Lines
I saved these big peaches in the basket
for you, come in, I also have apple trees
the plums are ripe too. My wife died here
and left me alone, now you see this pool
all cracked, I set those stones myself—
these days I'm so tired, here have a seat.
I had a job, you know, at the county seat
my son used to live here, but he's a basket
case, I got a court order finally, me myself
I'm fine but there's so much work, trees
need pruning twice a year, this old pool
the man came to fix it, but you look here
that blue tile isn't straight, see, over here.
I'm selling all this stuff next week, that seat
is better, my son was no good, played pool
all night then came home, have another basket,
you're making jam? How nice! Those trees
the squirrels got to them first. All by myself
I'd like to move, I think being by myself
is too hard, but I want to die right here
like my wife did, I planted all these trees
forty five years ago, we built that old seat
when we first got here. Move the basket,
we were married sixty years and the pool
was a surprise for her, an emerald pool.
Look at all this junk, I might take it myself
to the dump, do you live close by? A basket
at the farmers' market costs a lot around here
mine's pretty cheap, white peaches. A seat
on a hot day like this, under some shade trees
that'd be great, look at these purple plum trees.
I volunteer at the Moose Lodge, there's a pool
to swim at there, in our church the choir's seat
is right by the stained glass, I sing some myself.
I told my wife I'd stay put in this house here
though it's getting harder, let me get the basket.
I only get one basket of these peaches per tree
myself, I don't find them too sweet, over here—
watch the pool, God bless you, here's my seat. 

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Over 500 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. She is a Best of the Net and twice a Pushcart nominee. She is interested in the American West and the narratives of people and places around her. She is a retired teacher living in Oregon.

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