He was cleaning leaves for one at a time
was what he needed and a minute before the two
brown poodles walked by he looked at the stripped-down trees
from one more point of view and thought they were
part of a system in which the dappled was foreign
for he had arrived at his own conclusion and that was
for him a relief even if he was separated,
even if  his hands were frozen,
even if the wind knocked him down,
even if his cat went into her helpless mode
inside the green and sheltering Japanese yew tree.

More Poems by Gerald Stern