In the Weeks Before
She stopped calling her husband Doc,
as we all had always done.
The orange leaves left the trees.
The spikey gumballs too, and
that year no one bothered
raking up the mess. Instead,
we remembered our mothers
searching for the perfect Maple,
English Oak or Buckeye to keep
inside a bible, leaves pressed
in leaves. So many leavings forgotten
on childhood shelves in books for which
we reached a thousand miles away.
It took the slow metastasis of autumn
to comprehend physicians bound to fail,
but, she allowed, her Phillip never would.
— for Anne and Doc Mueller
Rodd Whelpley is a young poet, but an old man, who, by day, runs an electric efficiency program for 32 municipal utilities in Illinois. His work has appeared in Menacing Hedge, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, 2River View, *82 Review, Black Napkin Press, Spillway, The Chagrin River Review and other journals.