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          The Landlord Next Door
          By Don Langford

          Patching a crack in the walkway,
          filling a small hole in his house
          with cement, returning a cup of soil
          to a hole left in the ground by squirrels,
          the old man, my landlord, works

          The world’s calamities can wait;
          he harvests the tomatoes that he planted
          from seed, waters the impatiens that grow
          in fullest bright color by his porch,
          turns the earth and worms in his garbage can of rich
          dark soil.

          He will disappear some days with his fishing pole
          and box of floaters and sinkers, and a lunchbox;
          he will disappear with the squirrel cage that he uses
          to relocate squirrels to other wooded places,
          perpetually moving each generation that moves into our

          He will disappear
          and the world that never knew he was here
          will be smaller because of his disappearance.
          He will leave no big mark that he was here;
          he tends to his lawn, removing the weeds
          each spring and fall,
          the humblest of souls
          taking the littlest portions from this world
          and returning them back to the earth,
          working deliberately and slowly,
          keeping his little part of the world from falling apart.

          © Copyright 2004, Don Langford, All Rights Reserved.

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Document last modified on: 09/28/2004

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