Image by Peter H from Pixabay


“Crooked” is all I could say of the 78-year-old
soybean farmer who used to sit across the road in his Adirondack
smoking what I can only imagine are Camels.
I have described him this way to my friends
because I couldn’t talk about my own life:
the crooked man resting on death’s doorstep
just waiting in his dirty wifebeater for the morning to come
that would be his last, as he pulled a drag laboriously
from a cigarette nub. Then ground a hale
of raspy coughs before the sun was half awake.


Don’t tell my friends, but when I was alone, on my
balcony, sipping a cup of stale Joe in my plaid
pajamas, and I saw him tugging at a bone,
I wondered why I called him crooked. Crooked like
a mob boss, like a cheating pokerhead,
like a billionaire who can’t stand taxes? When he
stood, his back arched ever so slightly. That was all.

A fews days back, I didn’t see him there:
no plumes, no filler for the Adirondack.
So I looked up the local obituaries and there
he sat, just in the crease of the page, crooked:
“Jon Adelaide, 78, died peacefully Friday at his home.
Farmer, lawyer, teacher, and father to five. Active
member of the VFW. Quiet, kind, generous.
A hero unsuspected. Straight as an arrow.
He will be missed.”

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Image by Inn from Pixabay

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