By Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Pulling the rake through the cottonwood leaves,
I think of Jack in Michigan pulling his rake
through beech, birch, oak and ash leaves.
I stop to lean on my rake and I think
of him stopping to lean on his rake
and talk to the gods. I'm not so sure I believe
in gods, but I believe in Jack. I believe in kindness.
I believe in friendship that grows despite distance.
I believe that these rhythms of raking and making piles
bring us closer together--all of us rakers, all of us
who step into the slow cadence of pull and reach,
and pull and reach. There is something unifying
in this annual act of tidying the world. Every day
the news is full of all we can't set right. But we
can drag the rake through the yard so that we
can see the path again. And we can set the rake
aside and stare at the sky and think of all
the people we love and all the people
we'll never know who join us in this simple act,
reach and pull, reach and pull, reach and pull,
the sound of metal tines grating, the beat
of our own hearts scraping against our chests.
From her book Hush.