County 40

Two old men in the clinic waiting room
meet once more
maybe one last time for the first time again.

One wears a blue cap with some logo in gold,
the other borne to his plastic chair
by an aluminum walker with tennis ball shoes.

I another old man: a fountain pen.
Blue cap with logo on the chair beside me.
I will not watch, having not been invited,
not been invited either though, not to listen:

Old lady who lived back in there off County 40.
Name was Leona.

Used to be a resort back there. No more.
No more.

We’re putting our place up for sale. Moving into town.
Too far from help if you hurt yourself,
Too far if you don’t, come to think.

Broke my leg.

The wife broke her wrist.

Yeah, well. But if you break your arm you can still walk.
Break your leg you’re done.

Now we’re all quiet together.


We’re brothers now
maybe thinking about those bones.
Them bones chuckle.
The old health: them dry bones, thin dry bones now.
They choose magazines, read at magazines—Health.

In honor of our silence,
my age and theirs,
I’m done now too,
with writing not brotherhood.
In brotherhood I rise, hip bone connected
to the creak of rejuvenation,

head back up County 40, the winter drive friable
like old drought-soil gone mortally sere—

slick hard treacherous bone-white abyss just under the glare—
back to our family’s old house not for sale.

So many things not for sale never seem to be only things.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.