Mayo Smith is aware of the years

Survival is discovering you are out of stamps.
Living is going to buy more and forgetting what else it is you need.
Mayo Smith should have written it down.
Mayo Smith should have written it all down.

The great wheel of mountain stone rumbles into place.
The lever plumbs the next notch and then the next one.
Before the television finds the signal, it’s on to the next one.
Moment by moment, lemon by lemon, the grocery store rots until it is a cathedral.

Repair the lawnmower with a butter knife because it’s there.
Call the grown son and let it ring nine times because he’s not.
Teach the neighbors’ tow-haired boy to field grounders between his feet.
He is not listening because there is a dead bird under the poplar.
Tell the story about Lolich again and again at the Kiwanis luncheon.

Look forward to the trip to Florida long enough to feel the stone wheel slip into place once more while smoking by the garage on a starless night, the sky the color of a football team he once cared about. The next day run over the anthill with the mower and watch them scatter like retreating navies — from the now, toward the next until the next becomes the now. “Reckon I’m an ant,” Mayo Smith mumbles to his wife while she sleeps and he doesn’t.

The instant fall shadows the yard is the solace, the destroyer.

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