Word saver

Ernie 30 years a gold engraver tells his life (Came the war - and I went) to fit an inside circle worn next to the skin (Ernie to Jessie - 1910) Thumbs under his suspenders he sums the war in three phrases. We talk hard by the stone wall. A rabbit with arcane powers has leveled his Swiss chard; if he went to church God would thunder only from the organ, trembling the walls, resonating all wood. He names me (Washington, Hood . . . ) mountains he's climbed.

He smiles and hands my poem back:

(it should have

rhymed.)

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