My neighbor Bill mows his lawn
every three days, unless it rains,
then it’s every four. Retired,
too much time on his hands — 
we wave in passing 
but keep to ourselves: those times
we’ve spoken, the telltale signs
of a stutter. 

He rides his red Toro,
buzzard circles in the grass, 
always at suppertime, 
and uses a leaf blower as loud
as a jet engine. He makes
cocktail hour chatter 
around the grill a challenge.

Bill planted roses
after his wife died, crimson knockouts,
in bloom spring through fall. 
Easy keepers, but he worries over them
like a child and her blanket.

One day his tools will
skin with rust, 
the yard will sprout dandelion,
clover, weeds. Some quiet
Sunday night we’ll say 
we miss the old guy, 
he wasn’t so bad. 

Someone new will move in,
we’ll bring bread, a bottle
of red, we’ll tell them —
you’ve got a tough act to follow.