After Retiring
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After Retiring

Michael L. Keck

I became lost to myself, realizing that work had created my identity
and there was little else to fall back on.
This seemed to be a sort of cruel joke that the other retirees forgot to speak of.
To find my way forward,
I took a job announcing fall.
It didn’t pay much but it got me outside and everyone listened to me again,
“Three days from now, a killer frost,”
“Two weeks until peak colors.”
I became busy again,
traveling fifteen miles a day, generally south,
making others glad for a moment.
A few
went outdoors to check on my predictions, or stayed to rake.
There was cider and doughnuts,
the occasional smell of a pile of leaves smoldering at a curb,
a man nearby watching and raking the fire back on itself to get the wet leaves going.
White, acrid smoke hung in the blue air.
This is the smell of my childhood, I thought
and a good job,
traveling with geese and robins.
Sometimes a ghost was mentioned, but I know
I am going to need a coat.