White ashes on my brown corduroys. The sun strikes my bare chest.
A bee on the white picnic table appears to be dying. Maybe it's drinking the paint. Its abdomen in the sunlight is the color of my Newcastle.
The bee falls, or flies, into the grass.
Behind me, my old neighbors attend to their garden. By way of its bounty they continue to live. Their hope resides in the vegetables' tenacity, in the general relentlessness of life, as certain after its fashion as death.
Tomorrow, I will transform. I will arrive at a new self by attempting a hopeless return to youth.
In the mean-time I release the top button of my corduroys, to give this man's belly some room.
The dog, Maggie, will be dead in a matter of weeks. Her eyes, looking up from her little face, which she rests on her paws, say: "I am dying." This expression I translate as: Help.
I pour her some water and for a while she drinks greedily. In the same action one can see hope and hopelessness.