This is my letter to the world

by Emily Dickinson

This is my letter to the world
That never wrote to me,—
The simple news that Nature told
With tender majesty.

Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen
Judge tenderly of me!
            by Brenda Ethridge Ferguson

Air conditioners cool the hall
where they assemble. They who
wear the accumulation of years 
as a heavy mantle no longer
favor park pavilions
and July heat
and fighting flies off black-eyed peas
and okra.

Histories meet again. Bored children
endure long hours of hugs and sugar-coated interest
in cousins’ offspring’s offspring.

But he, the remnant of another time,
sits smiling. His manner 
laced with respectful reserve,
he turns his crinkled face and
half-closed eye toward his less
ancient, more talkative kin.

“Yes,” he chuckles and nods as
his distant cousin regales him with
stories of days gone by—
family stories about long lines 
of Bills and Aggies turning light bulbs.
The old man sits upright, fully-suited
in dark, summer-weight wool,
 speaking so softly his cousin
 leans forward to hear.

Young men pass by. Feebly he reaches out to them,
 hand extended, courtly.
“Thanks for inviting me,” he says.

They pause, bow slightly, “Of course, they say,” unaware
he sits in their seat.

by Brenda Ethridge Ferguson

Late afternoon and I sit
rocking. There is rain enough
and peace. The porch, splashed smoothly wet,
is my own porch, finally,
my own chair--as God allows.

In the distance, the sun, struggling against ominous clouds,
spotlights a young mesquite,
all liquid green, sequins shimmering
in the heavy mist.
Perhaps a sign.

Through the wall, I hear voices
and laughter that chimes like brass butterflies
brushed by a strengthening breeze.
For now, my family are safe and dry within
the house and that is all we know of heaven.