Self-portrait in summer, with broken-down shed and water heater

Whoever penned Ecclesiastes 3:1 must not
have had a mortgage and an older house.

Must never have had to take care of repairs!
is what I think as I hunt for Nextdoor

recommendations of plumbers, as I call around
for estimates and check the prices on lumber

and siding. To everything there is a season
is what it says: a time for this and a time

for that, for the orderly and equitable march
of seasons as well as their bloom and fade.

The stalk comes up after the seed, the flood
disappears into the plain. And the cost of fixing

what’s damaged shouldn’t amount to another
disaster, should it? O let this not be the time

for the hot water to go out just as the deck umbrella
snaps almost cleanly in half in a freak wind storm,

at the same time you find a snarling nest
of coons burrowed in the shed’s rotting wood

when you go to retrieve the ladder. Let the broken
fence palings keep from falling down into the service

road, let the neighbors’ dogs poop regularly
somewhere other than the edge of the footpath

where you come and go. Look up at the sky if
you can, past the greenish cast on windows and walls

in need of power washing; at the flowers’ hot
and thirsty faces, sending out semaphores of entreaty.

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