On a Succession of Mornings

The wheelbarrow. 
Stakes and string. The rake.
Stacks of paving stones. 
The foldable workbench. The saw. 
The man grizzled and gaunt. Plaid
shirt faded above work pants, 
his scuffed brown boots.

The earth bared, rake-leveled
and pounded flat. Him kneeling, 
setting the cut pavers into a pattern
he starts with a central Moravian star,
a design best seen from above.

What I know: that Nature will not wait.
Green will push up between the stones.
The pavers, laid like pastilles on the tongue, 
will disappear edges first as if melting, 
to be swallowed invisible. That the man
will not live to see this.  That he works 
slowly but steadily, concentrates 
on keeping the pattern true.

Copyright © 201 by Cathie Sandstrom. Originally published in The Comstock Review, Fall/Winter 2009-2010. Used with permission of the author.