Collecting bottles, tossing leftovers, taking out the garbage
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I’m growing fatter at each winter’s coming.
My wineglass filling up again
As I sit behind the wall of my garden.
I have renewed my interest in reading
Chinese poetry of farming and poverty.
While I read, I see myself standing along the roadway
As the emperor is carried past.
I bow in tattered clothing
And return to till his fields.
A bowl of fish heads and rice,
If the village fishermen are lucky.
How lucky I am without war
And hunger to dog me at my heels.
And how good my wine
On this warm November night:
The garden cleaned. My rake
Untangled of weeds, washed, and hung
On the bent-up nail.
Robert P. Cooke