The Short End

John Davis Jr.

Not quite right: that green garden hose
his hardened hands carefully coiled
into place, there by the barn
when workdays ran out of steam.

Slicker models rolled downtown
in hardware stores boasted
brass fittings on both ends.

Not his: Joined solely at spigot,
and like an adopted stray cat,
had its far end chopped off—

giving the poor thing just length
to water a back flowerbed
or show all the kids how
a real farmer takes a drink.

As older grandchildren, they'd learn:
There was only so much
a single-jointed hose could do,
yet on his land, his time,
it did so irreplaceably.