Roger Pfingston




Her Daily Walk


Given the choice, sidewalk or alley—avoiding, though, the trickery of winter days—my mother favored the latter by way of “visiting” backyards to see how others revealed themselves, sort of like entering an antique shop to confirm the known, with an eye out for the unexpected, an odd piece from someone else’s puzzle that she might fit to her own. Just curious, she always said, knowing damn well some would say nosy.
 
Gardens first and foremost, flower and/or vegetable, thickness of grass, walkways according to design—stone steps, gravel, a mulched path among statuettes and gazing balls, god forbid a wine-bottle tree. Condition and placement of trashcans, and always the inner sanctum of garages, the luck of a gaping door triggering one of her audible pauses—
What on earth . . . !”—before moving on.
 
It was a good day if someone was present, trimming a bush or tree, on their knees weeding or planting bulbs, trowel in hand, or just taking a break in the staring quietude of a lawn chair, maybe a cigarette and a cold drink, my mother’s cue to approach with a compliment or a question, though carefully civil.
       
An hour later—her self-prescribed time–she was home, sometimes with something worth pocketing like the day she found a tightly wrapped roll of dimes pressed into a tire’s muddy track. More often, though, she opened the back door into her kitchen, empty handed, her mind on what she might share with Betty over tea and something sweet, her next door neighbor of fifty years, housebound and eager for my mother’s voice.



Roger Pfingston has a new chapbook, What’s Given, available from Kattywompus Press. More recent poems will appear this year in Passager, Main Street Rag, Cider Press Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets and I-70 Review.








                                    

 

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