On Nathan’s walk

On Nathan’s walk in summer, he sees
Mother McClear mowing her too-long grass and making a lot of noise.
Mr. Selinek painting his door fire-engine yellow.
Jennie Ly playing hopscotch with Franny D. and laughing.
Mica, pointed ears twitching, lying flat on the cool earth under the pine tree.
Old Mr. Giffin pushing his walker down the street and wearing a big straw hat.
A shiny black crow, caw, cawing from Willa’s Japanese maple.
In front of his own house, boxes filled with newspapers, ready for recycling.
That’s what Nathan sees.

On Nathan’s walk in autumn, he sees
Mother McClear raking red, yellow and brown leaves into little hills.
Mr. Selinek scrubbing his purple car with a huge orange sponge and soap bubbles.
Jennie Ly, wearing a new white helmet and riding her bicycle so fast on the sidewalk.
Mica huddling against the glass front door of her house.
An ambulance with flashing lights in front of Mr.Giffin’s house – where is he?
Croaky starlings lifting up like a black cape from Willa’s lawn.
Brown bags much taller than Nathan and filled with leaves, ready for pick-up.
That’s what Nathan sees.

On Nathan’s Walk in winter, he sees
Mother McClear running for the bus in her fuzzy brown coat and boots and red mitts.
Mr. Selinek scraping new snow off his stone steps with a flat, black shovel.
Jennie Ly carrying home a bright yellow backpack with silver stripes.
Mica barking from her cozy chair inside the living room window.
Old Mr. Giffin! He’s back and pushing his walker on skis down the street.
A bare elm tree and sparrows, chip, chip, chipping at Willa’s feeder.
At Nathan’s house, no garbage bins – it’s not garbage day.
That’s what Nathan sees.

On Nathan’s walk in spring, he sees
Mother McClear, in funny orange gloves, planting pink flowers in her garden.
Mr. Selinek opening up black and white striped awnings over his front windows.
Jennie Ly roller-blading and falling down plop! on her puffy red kneepads.
Mica jumping and chewing on her leash, as she walks with Jenny Ly.
Old Mr. Giffin talking to a new neighbour with a sleeping baby in her arms.
Red-capped, tiny grey birds picking at the seeds below Willa’s feeder.
In his blue box, lots of empty cranberry juice packs Nathan drank all by himself.
That’s what Nathan sees.

JC Sulzenko

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