From where you sit at the table            playing hearts, you glance across the street                  at the man on the riding mower. You’re unaware you’re drinking in            a profusion of hues and believe                   you’re focused only on the game at hand, or on the cool whirl            of the ceiling fan. Outside,                   the world is thrown wide with mad summer, the mower red,            the man riding it, his white cap,                  the bill pulled low. With each turn of the machine,            his body leans out, then back.              Years later, you will glance up from your book            or your stitching and even                  if it’s winter, even if it’s dark out or snowing, you might see the red mower            still making its way across the lawn,                       the man in the cap leaning out, blue lacquered         to the sky, night waiting in the wings,              summer green and bright.

DANNYE ROMINE POWELL is the author of three previous collections, two of which have won the Brockman-Campbell Award for the best book of poetry published by a North Carolinian in the prior year. She’s won fellowships in poetry from the NEA and the North Carolina Arts Council and has won a residency to the writer’s colony Yaddo, where she slept one icy winter in the bedroom once occupied by Sylvia Plath. She has worked for many years at the Charlotte Observer, where she is once again writing about books and authors. She is also the author of a non-fiction book, Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern Writers. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband Lew Powell, also a long-time journalist.