Featured Poem: An Old Sidewalk

By Ted Kooser

THE PASSING YEARS have broken it

over the knees of tree roots,
those of great maples raining shade,
and of crippled elms whose leaves
in August turn to a lace that sifts
the heat. And the breaks have filled
with mold from which frail seedlings,
already with bark like their parents,
hold up green banners of hope.
For sixty or maybe seventy years
this sidewalk has been lying here,
literally under foot, and suddenly,
one morning when I look,
it’s there, supporting me,
its every pebble like a jewel—
yellow or brown or red or black—
set in the sandy concrete, ants
patching their old gray tent.

Such happiness there is in being
a part of all this, of dismissing
the woman watching from her window
while I bend to one knee to press
my hand against a broken sidewalk,
feeling the heat of that same light
that the sparrow hops over,
and that warms the cricket as it carries
its song across town in its purse.

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