Emancipation

Three and a half years
since I’ve cleaned
these gutters. Leaves

turned to grey
confetti and finally
to dirt. In my hands,

mulch comes out in
satisfying clumps
the size of banana bread.

Others have offered
to clean these channels,
and for fourteen seasons

I declined –even
as the rains sloshed
unceremoniously

over the bulging sides,
even as snow turned
glacier slid down

the burdened rooftop
with nowhere to go –
precarious slabs of blue

that told the story
of neglect. But today,
in the quiet springtime,

I remove, finally,
the obstruction,
thinking sometimes,

the things we know
we need to do
simply have to wait.

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