In the mornings when he passed my house
He helped himself to the wildflowers
I planted out front.
My neighbor would yell at him
And, one day, when I caught him in the act
He looked straight ahead and kept walking
While he gripped the stolen bouquet behind his back
In a tight fist, like any little kid would.
But he was an old man
And he only picked one kind of flower.
To quell my anger
I imagined he had a wife
Who couldn’t leave the house
And those flowers
Were the only bright spot in her day
Until, one evening
I saw he was the one
Who always sprinkled a handful of rice on the curb
To feed the birds.
After that, I didn’t mind
That he shared my flowers.
© by Siobhán Barry-Bratcher
Used with the author's permission.