On Orchard Place Where Time Stands Still
by Milton P. Ehrlich
Morning light, noonday sun and twilight shadows
frame a little old lady.
For almost three decades, we’ve exchanged smiles
and a friendly nod, without ever having said a word
as I’ve walked my dog to the greenish woods
in a grove of pine trees at the far end of her block.
She never gets any older sitting on a Boston rocker
on her front porch, paying un-ambivalent attention
to a shifting play of luminescence.
Alone, but never lonely, the secret of her longevity
may be that she simply is. Her weather-worn gray house
looks like a Walker Evans photo of an Appalachian shack.
Always smiling, seemingly content watching the world go by,
paying no heed to a sphinx-like Nash Rambler slumped
in her driveway that’s not going anywhere.
Her sunbaked, wrinkled skin, and radiant blue eyes
remain unchanged. I notice her pleasure in watching starlings
frolicking in a well-watered bird bath, gorging themselves
on a feeder packed with suet and seeds.
Evenings, through her window,
I’ve never heard TV chatter
or seen the glare from most other homes.
She’s always seated at her dining room table,
reading a book, a jet-black Burmese cat purring on her lap.
The local paper once reported her home was robbed,
but wasn’t ransacked, because she always leaves
a twenty-dollar bill on a table for uninvited guests
in need of money.
Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D., is an 87-year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as the London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Taj Mahal Literary Journal, Antigonish Review, Ottowa Arts Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor and The New York Times.