Cleaning Gutters

Half an hour before sunset, the day before

Thanksgiving, I steady the ladder to clean

gutters on the garage because rain

is forecast for midnight. The arch of maples,

bare and gray above like the next season,

has given me everything. So it's time.

I move, arm-span by arm-span along the eaves

as my hands toss leaves, crunch by crunch,

to the ground while good neighbor Lou

rides his John Deere in the cold; it softer

to him than three daughters in the house

and louder to me than a banshee chorus.

The evening, autumn sharp like those

I favor, dims. I finish and stow the ladder

as cardinals tick vespers in bamboo.

A Carolina warbler, who should have flown

there weeks ago, flies clothesline dips, pauses

in last light, gives song, then dives

into ivy on the neighbor's garage.

“Why am I this lucky?” I think, as

faint stars fan above the arbor.

Karl Garson