One Palm Sunday, A New England Primer – Poem by Greg Kerstetter

Edward Hopper – Cape Cod Afternoon

Poetry by Greg Kerstetter

An early spring warming
reveals us here in the north.
We’re in shorts
before the vines spread,
before maple leaves hide us
from ourselves.

This Sunday before Easter,
the restless ride bikes
on nearby paths.
We regard each other,
passersby watch me saw boards,
I, in turn, spy
a man facing a flat.
Pope Francis intones help is always right.
Straight as mercy can make me,
I arrive
to learn the biker is at a loss.
I retrieve an air pump, tire irons and a new tube.
You couldn’t have broken down in a better place, I say.
We shake: His brown eyes sincere,
his hand splotched black from tire grime
still soft.
When I reappear,
he’s gone —
the pump and irons as well.

I pray for my tools to get stuck in his spokes
sending him sprawling —
bloody, I hope.
I end my day, put away saw, hammer, and level
then notice a lawn chair —
on it I find my returned irons and pump.
Tomorrow’s forecast is for cold rain.
I rejoice.

About the Poet

Greg Kerstetter lives, writes, and plays in western Massachusetts, where he sometimes pulls out his manual Smith-Corona typewriter and writes poems for people on-demand. It’s no way to make a living, but no customer has ever paid too much for too little. Read his blog about poetry, politics, and basketball at

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