Ledger

Long ago in that other country you used
to keep birds of jeweled colors—

Parrot-green, yellow; vermillion streaked
across their faces, they were the first

bright gashes on the day. You could've had
a cat or a dog, but under the terms of lease,

those always cost extra. The same was true of
vacations: no family trips to see a geyser

or grand waterfall, no holiday in quaint
Bavarian towns along the Rhine. Perhaps

it's just as well you had no pets, did not
indulge expensive perks. Perhaps intuitively,

you felt that you should wait until such
a time arrived to make you feel you might

relax a little, take care of more than just
"the necessary," before giving in at last

to the desire to see a larger world and
take in its varied pleasures. But the years

have a tendency to make you believe
the reel keeps going indefinitely; one

season's black-and-whites become the next
one's Polaroids; then all turn uniformly

grainy. The maples you planted, flanking
the driveway, are tall and leafy; but

the persimmon you set in backyard soil
refused to thrive. Still, chalking up

items in the ledger, perhaps each side
in general balances out the other.

Today, on texted video, your toddler
grandson sounds out letters one by one,

putting them all together: the s, t,
a then r that form the word star.

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