News from an Errant Boy
Near the end of a route
he glances back
still carrying a basketful of undelivered scuttlebutt
unwelcomed, unfaked news
few eagerly bought.
A carrier, spreader of tales, features, opinion, infectious dis-ease
tucked in Tribune, Courier or Star,
each carefully rolled or banded
made ready to fly
in predawn raids on a neighborhood.
Mounted on a shiny Schwinn red stallion
he slalomed the streets,
loosing a flock of ink-stained sparrows
into boxwoods, across rooftops, and through roses,
most dropping arm’s-length from a door.
If not distracted by shooting star or northern light
he kept score
like a major leaguer
ninety-five percent on a great day,
Santo or Banks zipping it to first.
At collection time, dogs barked, doors cracked, curtains parted, or simply silence,
some away, others hiding, many grumbling,
and a few tipping
if only with a smile
But Mrs. Arnholt had warm cookies and milk.
Later, he couriered along other routes –
conferences, sermons, lectures, reports,
audits, inventories, evaluations and strategic plans.
some landed on roofs, some sailed through boxwoods or into roses,
a few slid to a place near the door.
At such collection times, dogs barked, doors cracked, curtains parted,
mostly there was silence
many hid, some grumbled, and a few, generous beyond expectation,
opened imaginations and purses like
Mrs. Arnholt offering warm cookies and milk.
Dear boy, still on his fool’s errands,
casting fish wrapped delicacies, tinged with gospel mystery, hither and yon.
Little scoring among fear-filled Kool-Aid drinkers.
Some deliveries will never land – near the heart
Still he peddles toward the finish, basket overflowing.