The Last of the Old Neighbors
by Robert Joe Stout

Slippers scuff concrete
as she descends the front steps
to the sidewalk, one crooked hand
on the wooden railing,
________________the other
clasping a pair of scissors that reflects
the bright afternoon sun. Behind the FOR SALE sign
she turns
and begin to snip faded rose blossoms
from the arbor behind the walk,
the click! click! Of the closing blades
cadencing a disturbance among squirrels
who scold from the eaves.

She is, she says, going
fourteen hundred miles to Wisconsin
to care for a sister
who God has seen fit to bless
with paralysis
and a wandering mind,

her smile creeping through a branchworks
of wrinkles
and wispy, transparent widow’s hairs

as old blossoms fall
and new ones
push through the clipped foliage.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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