My Dear Mr. Cooper,
It's been a year since I set you
on my porch
to be cured of mildew,
hoping the sun
would bleach it away.
Instead, I've watched you
frost, squirrels, wind, crows,
an accumulation of additional mold (stunning
pinks and greens, furry blues),
potato bugs, spiders, fir needles,
god knows what else.
Every day I've checked your verbage,
your crinkled pages, your unraveling spine.
You've been my constant, my index of months,
the tick-ticking of another year.
Now it's time to shift you, with intention,
to another place, maybe
I'll snug you in among salal and irises,
or nestle you in meadowsweet and bluebells —
a bed I'd choose if my own chapters risked thinning.
You've been a sturdy volume —
nearly unmoved for twelve months
by the ravages of a flawed planet.
Maybe your words will take root in the garden,
or maybe decompose, break down
to elements of a larger ecosystem.
You might take up with worms.
You've been good company, Mr. Cooper
and may your passing into new territory
carry with it every possible surprise.