Anthology of Stories Told Over Dinner
The daughter says that in Tasmania the peat is burning
for the first time in history.
The uncle tells that in Gallup there was much less snow
than when he came there as a doctor ten decades ago.
The clock drops through the ice on the Vermont pond
a week earlier than when he was a child.
The apple trees put forth buds ten days early.
Where the conquistadors rode through New Mexico,
the grass was thigh high. Now the lands burn every year
and chile peppers suffer heat and hail.
Grandfather tells of reading a picture book to his grandson,
one about Santa delivering gifts from a red-and-white-striped boat
with sails made of hemp.
The cook, wiping hands on a blue cotton apron, pauses
at the kitchen door scraping mashed potatoes. I saw an eagle
yesterday. Over the nature area beside the state park.
The uncle asks for money for condor recovery. An amount
equal to the cost of dinner. They each pony up.
The more stories they might have told stopped with
the arrival of rhubarb pie while the sun set on
an urban creek where there were no longer any frogs.