Morning light, noon day sun and twilight shadows
frame a little old lady. She never gets any older sitting
on a Boston rocker on her front porch paying un-ambivalent attention
to a shifting play of luminescence. Alone but never lonely, the secret
of her longevity may be that she simply is.

Her weather-worn gray house looks like a Walker Evans’ photo
of an Appalachian shack. Always smiling, seemingly content
watching the world go by, paying no heed to a sphinx-like
Nash Rambler slumped in her driveway not going anywhere.

For almost three decades we have exchanged smiles and a friendly nod
without ever having said a word as I’ve walked my dog to the greenish
woods in a grove of white pine trees at the far end of her block.
Her sun-baked wrinkled skin and radiant blue eyes remain unchanged.
I notice her pleasure in watching starlings frolicking in a well watered
bird bath, gorging themselves on a feeder packed with suet and seeds.

Evenings, through her window I’ve never heard television chatter or seen
the glare emanating from most other homes. She’s always seated at her dining
room table reading a book, a jet-black Burmese cat purring on her lap.
The local paper once reported her home was robbed, but wasn’t ransacked
because she always leaves a twenty dollar bill for uninvited guests in need
of cash.

Milton P. Ehrlich