It leapt through a dashboard louver
onto the passenger seat. Grasshopper,
delicate as a dress accessory you might wear.
Did I own a neon windbreaker that color
sixty years ago, could I have been
that gauche? And if not, where
have I seen that shade of green before?
Through the traffic of four or five towns
and the skirting of three bays and a few coves,
this virid bug kept taking me to memory’s
greener venues: the we-can-do-it
of the garden’s pumpkin leaves, for instance,
and among the leaps of recollection,
how The North Sea forbids grasshoppers
further passage than Hoy, tallest of the Orkneys.
And for no other reason I can fathom than
this bug’s range of motion, before its italic limbs
finally sprung it out the open window
I recalled that day going past the drive-in theater
when we saw the man who’d had a stroke like yours,
the one I held up as an example while he pushed
along the sidewalk by the state road, struggling
himself back toward a younger self.
But failed, apparently, since I’ve seen him
a few times later in a motorized wheelchair,
a hankie-sized red flag waggling his presence
in the breakdown lane. I kept that to myself,
and it was only yesterday I could tell you
he was on his own two feet again at the drugstore,
gray as we are, but almost dashing with
his cane and belted leather coat.