A Man, for Michael Macklin

by Naomi Shihab Nye

A man comes home carrying a pineapple. His family and friends gather ’round him happily. No pineapple has entered this house for so long. A man strolls up the walk carrying a white bakery box of cinnamon morning buns, still warm. A man loves poetry and helps others publish it. This is very different from a man loving poetry and just writing it. This is a man carrying a pineapple, who doesn’t worry about pokes from its fancy hat. A man with range, with reach. A generous man. A man speaks his own poems in a richly resonant voice that has been feeding on pine cones and moss. Together we pause inside his rain, jazz, finely combed memory. The house is not yet finished. A dog knows him. Air knows him. When he came to earth in 1949 it was a different earth. This man called things up. Pieced them together. He said, his voice fanning out like a wind, write to me. So many thanked him for listening. So many bowed. So many knew the subtle ways he stayed.