Every spring she lifted
the carpet in the lounge
where the old boys
sat drinking their single-malts.
She turned the good brown soil
and planted seeds: radishes and lettuces,
and as the days grew warmer,
chard and onions, tomatoes and squash.
Still they sat, dozing,
while the warm room filled
with leaf and vine, the scents of ripening.
Every day she came and watered and hoed,
and every day they sat,
reading their papers,
talking of business, the progress
of their cold gray war.
She filled apple baskets in autumn
and left them on the roadsides
for squirrels and children and crows.
The old boys grew thinner,
more querulous. When they rose
to go to the bathroom or the bar
they were careful not to dirty their shoes.
They would not speak to her.
When winter came
she tacked the carpet back down,
swept up the last dry leaves
and followed the boys to the sea.
There, while they sat
in the sun on their private beach
building castles of golden sand,
she went to work with her tiny trowel.