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Roberta Gould


The perfectly kept yellow slats
were in decay
and the always transparent windows
were covered with dust or grime

No hanging baskets that day
and grass had overgrown
the walk to the her door
Clumps of it marked what was her garden
---For sale, said the sign

I hadn’t imagined her demise
though she was almost eighty
always keeping the place bright
hard work and energy
Her voice strong and the speech
accented with Long Island turns
some similar to Brooklyn’s

A crew of weekend fishers
and an occasional teacher
lodged there
She spoke of them often
Frank, who read Bashevis Singer
and others I didn’t know
She also told of an old town priest
with many girlfriends
and, sometimes, she mentioned her son

”Sometimes I ask myself what it’s all about”
she’d say with a smile
in the kitchen where she offered coffee
and served light meals to the weekend men
She was clear in her dealings and humorous
and when I’d get there early
I’d check Southampton’s betting parlor
eager to find her and say hello

I wont’ tell the rest of the story
how I learned the news of her passing
It was four years since I‘d been there
The words stuck in my throat
Her house returning to the elements


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