As they grow older more time is spent sitting

on the porch watching cars go by, discussing

the odds of who goes first. When he suddenly

departs, she withdraws to her barn museum,

surrounded by a collection of artifacts she garnered

at country auctions and flea markets at Portobello

and Les Puces at Porte de Cleancort.

Sequestered in an old tin bathtub under criss-crossing

hand-hewn beams flecked with white bird-droppings

from resident swallows, bats and a pair of hooting owls,

she listens to pelting rain beating down on the roof,

sucking on Gangon’s succulent chicken feet, comforted

by a sign overhead: A Royal Feed For Every Need.

She studies rain braiding down cracked window panes

entangled with vines that wrap around a sagging silo

leaning against the faded red barn.

Absorbed by dust motes dancing in dimming light,

she drifts off to sleep, dreaming she’s been floated

out to sea like an old Eskimo in an act of senilicide.

Pitch forks, cow bells and barrels bob up and down

around her as she views a Victrola gliding by,

the knob of the wind-up handle protruding like a snout

of a harbor seal. An oversized trencher skims along

with a pair of double-breasted cormorants grunting

a song of love.

Out of turbulent waters, she plucks a zither and begins

strumming the theme from The Third Man.

She drifts into a massive hand-wrought iron gate

decorated with shiny brass finials. She calls out

to her mate: “Open up and let me in!” “I can’t,” he replies,

“You still have time.” I’ll reserve a number for you here

at Star’s auction., but bring a credit card, they no longer

accept checks.” Awakened by a pounding heart beat

she’s sorely disappointed she’s not yet ready to met her mate.

Milton P. Ehrlich