What Was His

21 August 2016

Afterwards, the island
was no longer one,
a quarter of it having been
split off by the storm,
amazing them.  They would now have
to row, daily, to pasture,
where stood the barn,
and to visit with, and milk,
Butter, and Cup.

But, Billy didn’t skip a beat.
Before you could spit,
he was in the rowboat,
and across to New Island
the morning after the storm,
to see to Butter, to see to Cup.
He found them fine,
though, he thought,
a touch perplexed.
But, seeing Billy, and Girl,
Billy’s collie, set things right.

The barn stood the storm.
The rooster vane atop it
still crowed metallic.
Inside was dry,
and held Billy’s favorite aroma,
decaying hay.

Butter, Cup, and Girl were happy
in one another’s company.
The pasture was already drying
to a warm sweetness,
in the sun floating
ever higher over the ocean.

That first day, after the storm,
began new habits for Billy.
He hung around the barn,
seeing to Butter and Cups’ comforts,
neatening up, seeing to the barn’s
upkeep, and, then, taking the bother
to do nothing at all,
before he and Girl
rowed back across New Inlet.

For Billy, the storm
had been a benison,
making him realize
how much he cared about
what was his.

Philip Kuepper
(31 July 2016)

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