The retired photography teacher
stares at the Upper Mississippi,
not the murky expanse at St. Louis,
not the dark churning waters
creating the delta at New Orleans.

Here the west bank in Iowa
is blanketed gold,
while the Wisconsin side
in morning shadow,
shivers in darkness.

“Always changing,” he says,
coffee cup in hand, standing
by his bird houses and feeders,
corn cobs hung for squirrels.
“Morning light is best.”

This Mississippi is dazzling,
water shaded in blues and greens
reflecting gold and red casts,
or the current color of sky:
salmon, pink, violet.

The onset of macular degeneration
means some day he will see solely
the sides of the frame before him.
Ready now to finally live, he’s so
much aware of what he’ll miss.

Nancy Kay Peterson’s poetry has appeared in Dash Literary Journal, HerWords, Last Stanza Poetry Journal, One Sentence Poems, Spank the Carp, Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review, Tipton Poetry Journal and Three Line Poetry. Finishing Line Press published her two poetry chapbooks, Belated Remembrance (2010) and Selling the Family (2021).