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Well, after 40 years, she's still my Erato.

For My Wife at 63

Arthur_and_sl_at_soccer_gameby Sydney Lea11 Nov 2019

Autumn’s at hand, and I recollect how you combed every wisp
of weed from your garden in a pair of separate Septembers, each one
for a different child’s
wedding here. Though the mess came back too soon–

pigweed, purslane, vetch– I’ll never forget how you knelt
in the scrabbled dirt; how you smiled; how the muddy, sweaty droplets
coursed your face.
The white-tailed hornets had hung their nasty basket

again on our woodshed’s eaves. Uphill in their thicket, red squirrels
would assemble to raid the feeder the minute you filled it with seed
for pine siskin and junco.
I was thinking of winter, you see, even though what I heard

from the porch was only the somnolent hum around that hive.
You’d rap the kitchen window, the squirrels would take to their trees,
then scoot right back.
The afternoons would have shortened. Things repeat.

Whatever could have happened that such blessing fell on me?
Whether I’m with you or not in the flesh, I adore you daily.
And luck keeps on coming.
You’re still the lovely woman you were at 30.

Yes, things have repeated through our many years, though we’ve known
occasions when nuisance alone seemed to rule, when I pondered how
our raptest attentions
must come to nothing. But I look at you just now,

and then I appraise myself, that less-than-hero who won
the shining girl. That only happens in movies.
A marvel a day,
a single marvel– that’s surely enough to hold me.

Sydney Lea is author of thirteen volumes of poetry, most recently Here (Four Way Books, 2019). A former Vermont Poet Laureate and a Pulitzer finalist, he has also published a novel, a collection of literary criticism, and four volumes of personal essays. His collaborative work with former Delaware Laureate Fleda Brown, Growing Old in Poetry: Two Poets, Two Live, is now available, and his newer literary essays, The Music of What Happens: Lyric and Everyday Life, will be out in 2020.