by Ruth Stone
Through the open window, a confusion
of gasoline fumes, lilacs, the green esters of grass.
Edward Waite rides the lawn mower.
Each summer his voice is more stifled. His emphysema is worse.
"Three packs a day," he says, still proud of the fact.
Before he got sick, he drove semis across the country.
Every two weeks he drives his small truck up the mountain.
He mows in long rows fitting swath to cut swath, overlapping the width.
To please me he saves the wild paintbrush along the edge.
Stripped to the waist, I see he has hung his blue shirt
on my clothesline to dry out the sweat.
The shirt, with its arms upraised, filled with the body of air,
is deeply inhaling, exhaling its doppelgänger breath.