Asparagus in basket


By Keith Lesmeister

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Everything is possible in May…

May 1

Today I witnessed a squirrel jumping from one branch of the Norway maple to another. It missed its intended mark and fell 15 feet, and from where I sat I could hear the thump of its body hit the ground. I’ve never seen such a thing, and while I find it fascinating and somewhat shocking, I don’t find it to be any kind of sign. Nor do I find any meaning in the action. It was simply an event that took place. A rare one, I grant you, but no more or less than what it was—a dramatic misstep. An icy branch. The squirrel lived.

You kids can see the date here, so it may be a surprise to you—it has been to me—that the garlic is quite late in sprouting. In fact, at this point, it’s a couple days late compared to last year, but ah, what of the comparisons? They have the potential to create a small amount of anxiety, which results in me moving around the straw mulch that you were kind enough to bring over and spread on top of the planted garlic last October. And here I am, impatient with it all. Yes, the garlic is starting to poke out of the ground, just not tall enough to poke out of the straw. I will tell you—as you know well enough already—if the amount of straw you piled on results in killing some of the garlic, I reserve the right for an “I told you so” moment, if it actually happens. In this case, I don’t think it will. Let’s hope.

It snowed here a little, earlier today. Not out of the question for northeast Iowa this time of year, but still mildly disappointing. Some, maybe a quarter inch, stuck. It has since mostly melted. The early May sun is full of hope and strength. No less, this cold and snow will be the singular reason for the garlic’s tardiness.


May 2

The poor robins don’t know what to do with themselves. I see it in their scared featureless eyes. They really don’t know what to do. I’ve often wondered the timing of it all. Why now and not two weeks from now? It is unusually cold, and if I had the ability to get to town, I suspect my friends at the coffee shop would be complaining about the weather, or, if not, it would be a premier topic of conversation. I’ve been housebound for the past day or so, not because of the weather, but because my arthritis is so thoroughly debilitating as to keep me hobbling around. Actually, no. Not hobbling. I’ve been using the walker as much as possible. I’ve been in my bathrobe for 24 hours, and while it does make for an amenable napping companion, all wrapped around me and warm, I’m anxious for when this flare goes away.

Thinking of it now, I suppose the robins have yet to build nests, thus they roost in the trees, and I see the flocks flying over the fields around the house. They’re loud too. My, are they loud. Especially while on the ground moving thatch with their beaks attempting to wrangle breakfast. A constant eh-eh-eh.

With your mother’s binoculars I can see the first sprouts of chives. She loved chives for their mild flavor, but also because they are the first herb to sprout. But they’re not doing well with this lingering overcast and partial snow cover, but I think we’re on the “up and up,” as your mother used to say. I think of her often. Especially this time of year. Probably because of the crocuses. She wrote a poem about crocuses. I found it maybe a year after she passed. She would never share her writings with me or anyone else. They were only for herself. I liked that about her. I like that about her. Here it is.


My friends
purple, joyous,
hints of white.
I forget about you
all summer, fall
and winter, your brief-long
lackadaisical life, but come
spring there you are
reliable and forgiving
for all the times
I’ve stepped over, around,
and on top of you without
the slightest acknowledgement.
But oh the joy in seeing you
usher in the green, green, and
bird song and stutter,
an annual surprise
“oh, there you are!”
from the most reliable

I often wondered at her daily spring musings, but I now understand why she did it. There’s something meditative about simply paying attention. Even, or perhaps especially, at the small things. Like the squirrel or the chives. I remember once she mumbled to herself, “They’ll sprout on their own time.” Meaning, of course, that no amount of writing or worrying will conjure anything out of the ground. And of course she’s right about that. Do I miss her? Yes, but for reasons different than you might think. I miss our agreeable habits—the way we worked, on our own separate projects, side-by-side. Sometimes we’d carry conversations one word or sentence or question at a time, and only respond when the thought occurred to us. We could carry on like that all day, while only uttering a few words. I miss that.

The big news around here is that the eaglets, born not long ago, are without their father.

May 3

I do get lonesome here, and I don’t want you to think ill of yourselves for this acknowledgment. I don’t mind too much the isolation, but when my feet don’t work, I get even lonelier—for the three of you, or your mother, or the grandkids—but that’s only when I’m homebound for days at a time. You might be wondering: why didn’t I call or email? I suppose I could, but I know my own sense of lonesomeness is short-lived, and not worth tending to, compared to, say, your day-to-day with the kids. I know how busy and important those moments are.

The deer have found my birdfeeders (again). I tap at the window and try to shoo them away, but they have calculated their risks. And they have calculated wisely.


May 4

The big news around here is that the eaglets, born not long ago, are without their father. He seems to have disappeared. You can stream this online, as falconers—The Raptor Resource Project, they’re called—have mounted cameras around the nest. The nest is lodged near the top of a towering cottonwood along a trout stream a mile south from where I write. Sometimes I park nearby the nest, on the road, and scan it with your mother’s binoculars. I hardly see much: a few feathers, maybe, the mom, if she’s there, and of course branches and twigs the length of humans. But the poor father. Theories are: death by electrocution or death by defending his territory. Or—and this is the least likely—he abandoned the nest. Of course no one wants to imagine that. The mother in turn has been calling for him, a keenly unique call of an inimitable pitch, but to no reply. She’s now a single parent. I do feel bad for the situation, though another part of me finds it endlessly fascinating.

The sun is out today and I walked/hobbled out to the deck and sunned myself. I’ve always liked the morning sun. It’s the only sun I was allowed exposure to as a kid. The sun in the Philippines is quite intense, as you can imagine, and in the afternoon, Lola forbade us going out without a hat or umbrella. She was quite strict, as you know. But we rarely if ever listened.

Sometimes it saddens me that you’ve never met the family I left behind. It’s been one of my biggest disappointments and reasons for melancholy. Where I am from, it is a common wish to come here. Some Filipinos try to marry Americans for opportunistic purposes. It happens. You’ve heard about instances, I’m sure. It’s not unique to my country. But it wasn’t like that for us—your mother and me. We married because we loved each other. Perhaps when I am gone, you might have time and resources to visit where I grew up, the place I still consider home. My siblings and extended family—your aunts and uncles and cousins whom you have never met—are all younger than me, and with the exception of my youngest sister, a sister I hardly knew when I came to the States, they are still alive and in good health. I think of that sister often. She was only a child when I moved here. She died in her 20s. I grieve her now as if it happened only yesterday. I grieve too that I wasn’t there for my family when she passed.

I didn’t anticipate the direction of this entry. Still, I will keep it here.


May 7

The feet felt better the past few days, which is why I missed a couple journal entries. But here I am now. I woke up, without prior indication from the day before, with sore feet. I’m grateful for my walker. I’ve harvested chives and the young purple nettles that grow everywhere. I chop them up and make a two-egg scramble. The young purple nettles are nutritious—full of iron and other vitamins and trace minerals. The asparagus—the asparagus!—is just now poking out of the ground. It heartens me to think of them growing, finally, after such a hard, long winter. April snow set a record this year. And here we are a week later hitting the 70s. What happened to the 50s? The 60s? Of course I’m one to complain about the weather. As a child, the weather was so very often the same, and we would hardly notice a change in seasons, except for when it rained. If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can conjure the smell of the ocean air; the languid lull of the water. That kind of thing doesn’t ever leave a person. It’ll always be with me. Your mother’s eyes—they will always be with me too. If I close my own, hers will appear.

From the house, I can see the small tender leaves sprouting on the maples and oaks. Just delicate, mini-versions of themselves. The crabapples and the regular apple trees are budding in haste, but the former is a bit quicker on the uptake. So much so that I’m concerned with whether or not some of the apple saplings I planted two years ago will make it. Funny, I may never see a single fruit on one of those trees. Still, I will tend to them, bring them along, for someone else. Perhaps one or all of you. Give them a few years to bear fruit. I hear they’re temperamental. Don’t shy away because they require extra work. It’ll be worth it.

Another male eagle has reportedly made its way into the nesting territory of the new eaglets—you remember the missing father? The latest theory, and the one everyone clings to, is that he died in a fight protecting his territory. Let’s hope it wasn’t to this new guy who’s been lurking around. Apparently, he had answered the female’s call to her missing partner. I’ve heard this is a young male eagle eager to find a spouse. We’ll see how it turns out.

As for the birds around here: still no finches, orioles, or bluebirds. The ones your mother loved so much. The ones I anticipate all spring. The robins seem happier.

My feet, I’m confident, will heal soon. This only feels like a minor setback.

Their time here marks the start of something: their movements and songs and colors.

May 8

Funny how one day can make such a difference. I was hopeful of my feet, but now quite depressed by their failings. I cannot put any pressure on the one foot—my left—and it is the source of much pain. I think I overdid it in the gardens for those two days when the snow melted and the spring weather settled. What can I say? I was full of spring hope.

There’s a burn ban here. In northeast Iowa of all places. What have we turned into? Southern California? It got so dry so fast, with the hot sun and dry winds, and the dead thatch around the fields and prairies and ditches. The firefighters, I read, had three calls in the past two days. I may have to use your mother’s fireproof lockbox, where she kept notes and poems and black-and-white family photos and a few old letters I had written to her when we were in the throes of our own spring courtship. What might I put in there? I don’t know, but I am on the edge of this tinderbox of prairie and woods, this intersection, and I suppose if I had to, I could put some valuables in there. If I had to. Come to think of it, that lockbox will be home to this journal.


May 11

The pain so severe the past few days that I couldn’t bring myself to do anything. Of course you are reading this much after the fact, but please don’t feel bad for me or hard on yourselves. I remember when we were raising you kids in middle and high school, and the constant end-of-year and springtime events that keep families endlessly busy. Perhaps that’s something I never got used to. The pace. The pace of our lives, even in our small town, is simply exhausting. I had mentioned this to your mother once, and the next year, Lola lived with us. Your mother was an ace at figuring out unlikely solutions to unsolvable issues. Having Lola here was a true help, if only for me, though her presence still had some direct impact on you kids and how I raised you. Just knowing she was around kept me sane, I think. We as a society ask so much of parents, and I really don’t know how anyone does it without going a little crazy.

I’ve been hobbling around outside today, and noticed the garlic poking through, finally, a severe tardiness compared to last year, no doubt due to the cold and persistent snow of April, which has been rapidly replaced with blue sky and mild winds. It rained hard last night and everything smells damp and fresh (no more burn ban). A few asparagus will be ready to harvest by early next week!

I’m still waiting for the orioles and goldfinches to return, which too are dawdling in their arrival. But I think I caught a glimpse of a bluebird. Your mother would shriek with joy upon the sight of any of the three. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Your mother wasn’t a person to shriek at anything. But I know this mark of spring brought her as much joy as anything else. I’m sure she has a poem about bluebirds and finches as well. Perhaps I will look.

The pairing of birds is quite evident though. I see them two-by-two in the feeders and on the deck stealing cat food. They’re everywhere, and their time here marks the start of something: their movements and songs and colors. They’re my indicator for what happens next. Tonight, after that hard rain, I suppose those throat gurgling frogs will be out in all their wet rapturous glory.

Loyal viewers of the eagle cam are all wondering—still wondering—if the young male eagle is lurking around to kill the mother and young ones, or if he’s simply answering the call to assume the position of mate. No one knows for sure. He may, after all, have been the one who killed the missing male in the first place. Well, at any rate, it appears to be working out—all this eagle stuff—and so long as he pulls his weight and helps out around the nest, protecting and hunting and providing companionship, then I guess all is well in the animal kingdom.

A young couple knocked on the door today and asked if they could scour the grounds for wild edibles.

May 14

A young couple knocked on the door today and asked if they could scour the grounds for wild edibles. They said, “Your weeds are our eats.” I replied with a reserved yes, but inside I was ecstatic to have the company. I may have even shrieked a little, but only inside.

The young couple were quite skinny, but very smiley and talkative, and allowed me to stroll the grounds with them. Three acres doesn’t seem like much, but they harvested three grocery bags of greens. They told me all the names and varieties, but the only two I remember are chickweed and honewort. Two distinct names with two very distinct flavors. I tried them both. I figured if I became sick and died, well, I’m not giving up too many years (a poor attempt at humor). The young woman assured me I wouldn’t get sick by eating them, as she must have no doubt sensed my reluctance at eating what I’ve considered weeds my entire life. They were such pleasant people, though each could stand to gain ten pounds. I invited them back to harvest anytime they’d like, and I would be surprised if they didn’t take me up on the offer. She also picked a small bag of wild mint and gave it to me. Told me to eat it after dinner or dry it and use it for tea. I think I may have a small crush on this couple, as I hope they return again and again. I’ve always been my best self while consumed with infatuation. It emboldens one’s actions and provides a heightened sense for what might be and what the world could become. I wonder if that new eagle felt the same way upon answering the call from the mother. I don’t know. It would be sad if it were all purely instinct, though I’m not unaware of the fact that all our behaviors could be considered as such—instinct that is. But really? An infatuation at my age? I truly am a foolish, foolish man. Still, my hands shake with excitement. My heartrate might be up slightly.


May 16

Below average temps the past few days, but there’s a new discovery, perhaps one that I should be embarrassed by, but I will tell you no less: clusters of green garlic. I must’ve forgotten about a group of it last summer. Could I have forgotten to harvest? There is quite a lot, and if you consider that each single bulb of garlic is one little shoot, and there are four to six bulbs on the varieties I plant, and there were approximately 50 in this grouping, we’re talking about a lot of green garlic to harvest—well over 200. I may offer some to the young foragers, should they return in the next week or two. No news of the eagles, and I suspect that’s a good thing. The first we’d hear is if one or the other turned on each other. I’m rooting for the mother, of course. How could you not? I think we might need rain. I can hardly keep up with all this back and forth weather. Spring in Iowa.


May 18

One of the two eaglets has died. I watch the movements of the mother and the stepfather, and I sense a heaviness. A weighty lugging around of themselves around the nest. Tough to say on camera, and perhaps—likely even—I’m projecting. The other eaglet is oblivious, and this new information about its sibling, while making the other eaglet more sympathetic, does nothing for its exterior. It’s still the ugliest little thing I’ve ever seen.

The young foragers returned and scoured the grounds out near the prairie and in the backyard. They didn’t stay long, and I wonder if that was a condition of my not being with them, slowing them down while they had to explain everything. I watched them from the house as they hunched over and combed the ground with their hands. They exude nothing but pleasantness. Even the efficiency of their work is somehow graceful. Oh, my rose-colored glasses. I do put them on from time to time. And seeing them work puts me in a mood of utter thankfulness. They didn’t knock on the door to ask permission, nor did they tell me when they were leaving. They came and went as they pleased, and why am I so enamored by these simple actions? I think a mark of maturity isn’t feeling obligated to tell someone you’re coming or going. And that might be true as well for a steadfast relationship. Not having to tell someone when and where you’re going. I tell myself that because your mother and I enjoyed this luxury insomuch as she could find herself lost in the woods or out having coffee with friends and never be so sure of the time. My mention of this has nothing really to do with the couple.

I’m currently giving away the green garlic to anyone who might want them. They are simply too much for me to eat, though I confess I enjoy them more than the regular garlic. They’re mild. I appreciate the less intense flavor. It’s also easier on potential heartburn.

I’m not opposed to reintroducing timber wolves. They’d clean up the deer population. I’d just have to keep the cat inside at night.

May 20

Oh the fawns. Dropping everywhere. I see one from the deck, in the walnut grove south of the house, by turns wobbly and curious, mother on guard, ever vigilant, and ornery, were you to walk upon one. I know. I’ve been chased away on more than one occasion. But my real claim to fawn-fame came many years ago. This took place near the cemetery where your mother and I used to walk occasionally. It was maybe June at this point, and we came upon one such fawn stuck on a fence, with its rear leg draped over the slatted part with two rows of barbed wire just above it. The inside of its leg was scratched up and bloody, and at first it did not move, so I thought perhaps it was dead. We were walking Liv at the time. You remember how rambunctious she could be? Well, I had your mother hold the dog in place while I attempted to pull the fawn off the fence. You see, the one leg hooked over wasn’t long enough to find the necessary purchase to lift itself off. I touched its back with an open palm. I thought this might calm it down, but instead it let out a resounding bleat. I looked at your mother then and said, “If you see a distressed doe, let me know right away.” Which was code for: we will start running. This part of the cemetery butted up against another walnut grove that had since been overrun with buckthorn and other invasive species, so it wasn’t easy to see anything, especially a deer. If I wandered upon a fawn today, Lord knows I couldn’t run away from anything. I’d have to hobble, and probably end up with a couple swift kicks from the mother. Anyhow, about this fawn. I did pull it safely from the fence after a couple tries, and all the while it was bleating ferociously. At one point I wondered if it might attack me, but it darted away safely, kicking up tufts of dirt and grass, and then ran into the same fence I freed it from—the dumb little bastard—and then finally found a place to jump through safely between the lower part of the fence and the first line of barbed wire. After we were finished, I saw its mother standing in the walnut grove, squared off, looking at me intently, but it didn’t budge. Just watched, and at that moment I thought about how much of my gardens would be eaten up by these hoofed critters. I might’ve had a small sense of regret knowing I freed the enemy. But there’s something about helping the helpless that we can’t turn away from. It’s simply in our DNA. I pushed the fight for growing foliage until a later date. I ended up purchasing this very effective pepper spray that I applied weekly to the tomato vines that grew over the fence. They stayed intact, for the most part.

Perhaps I am the only living person who has that tortured relationship with fawns. On one hand, I want to coo to them like I might’ve cooed to you as babies, but on the other hand, I have a deep urge to gut them and make veal. Dinner for a few nights while protecting the future of our plants (your mother’s perennials come back with an exact predictability every year, and every year the deer try to eat them). I’m not opposed to reintroducing timber wolves. They’d clean up the deer population. I’d just have to keep the cat inside at night.


May 22

Rain today. Lots of it. The kind that washes out a ravine at the bottom of the driveway. The temps have been erratic as well. One day 80, the next in the 50s. Today started out cold but ended humid and hot, then cloudy, and then lots of rain. I will have to call the fella who helps me out with the driveway, though I haven’t gone anywhere lately.

The asparagus harvest has been robust. I’d say we’ve harvested close to three dozen so far. Today alone, close to a dozen. What will I do with all of this? The neighbors up the road will surely enjoy some. They have—what is it?—five kids? And I thought three was a lot. I mean, not too many, but, well, anyhow.

I made my way to the orchard recently. Perhaps I’ve already mentioned this, but there are only two survivors out of the two-dozen I planted. I do feel a slight bit of failure about this, but I didn’t know I’d have to worry about rabbits chewing the base of the tree. Of course I had a protective ring around the bottom foot, but that doesn’t do much when there’s already a foot of snow on the ground come winter. Some of the trees I suppose just died on their own, even without a bunny gnawing at its base. I don’t know why they just up and die. Temperamental bastards, aren’t they? Still, I think two will produce a fine number of apples when they mature. Remember, be patient with them, and give them another couple years to produce. There’s a woman at the public library who will prune them for a small fee. Well worth it, as she knows exactly what she’s doing.


May 24

How could I forget wishing my eldest a happy birthday? I looked back on the last entry and it had somehow slipped my mind. I remembered, then I forgot to write it down, and then, well, no need for further explanation.

For breakfast today: green garlic, asparagus, and chive scramble. I almost added a radish and spinach, but I came across a recipe in your mother’s culinary notes that involves both, so I will have that for either lunch or dinner.

Today it is low humidity and the clearest bluest sky you’ve ever seen, and every year I remember having these feelings of unabashed hope. It’s often short lived, but I will take it when I can. Quite the contrast from just a day or so ago. My feet feel okay, but sometimes there’s a creak here or there that reminds me of how touch and go everything can be health-wise.

No news from the eagles’ nest. The couple seems intact, and they are bringing lively elements to the one eaglet. The other day the Raptor group cut the live feed because one of the adult eagles brought back a dead cat with a red collar still on its neck. I was glad to see the collar because otherwise I might’ve thought it was our cat. You know I’ve never used a collar for any of the cats around here. Seems cruel. Anyhow, the eaglet, I imagine, ate well.

Where did the month go? Where does a life go?

May 25

A flurry of activity around here. I’ve been busy as a beaver trying to keep up with weeds already. Weeds! I’m hoping the foraging couple comes back to harvest more. All they take are the things I’ve been pulling, but I can’t be sure of anything since I don’t have the memory I once had. Everything looks the same anyhow.

And what of my social calendar! Let me tell you: I’ve been invited for coffee and a couple happy hours, which I opted against. I try not to drink much anymore, save for a thimble of bourbon now and then to settle indigestion. I suppose at times one thimble becomes three.

I had coffee with a couple who knew your mother quite well, they claimed. Took a variety of cooking and gardening classes with her. Sounds about right, but why don’t I remember these things? And more, why didn’t I take the classes? There was another as well: birdwatching. I do remember that one, but I don’t remember her going. At any rate, I’ve used your mother’s binoculars quite often the past few days. The finches in particular have been rather friendly with me. And the bluebirds are finding their way to the boxes, the nests, your mother and I made for them all those years ago. I clean them out every year—twigs, leaves, feathers, remnants of shells, and calcified remains of whatever they (try to) eat. A person can change. A person can develop new habits. A lesson I’ve learned, and not a second too soon. I enjoy birdwatching, finally. What would your mother say about that?

The feet feel unusually good. I do not take anything for granted.

As I sit here now, writing to you, a new notification from the Raptor Project. The other eaglet is dead. The blurbs online speculate some kind of poisoning. I’ve been following for a couple months now, and I am saddened by the news. The mom and stepdad aren’t in the nest. I wonder if they’ve left for good? If I were them, I’d probably leave for good. And I wonder now, without children to raise, if they will stay together. Under the circumstances, I understood why she brought him in—this young male eagle to help hunt and protect. But now?


May 26

I slept in today, felt a heavy grogginess that I don’t normally feel. It could be a springtime cold, or it could simply be that I’m groggy. I may be a touch hurt by the loss of the second eaglet and the subsequent disintegration of their family unit, and perhaps that’s a contributing factor, but as I sit here, the day is lit up with fresh spring sun. The trees on the western hillside are aglow, and I recall with fondness those mornings I sat here at the table with your mother as she perused Mother Earth News or her calendar, which she loved to pore over, making future plans and such, and making sure we knew which appointments we had on any particular day. The Norway spruce trees are adorned with the deepest crimson nuggets I’ve ever seen. I looked it up online. They’re the onset of the cone. Apparently they’re quite nutritious, though sour, and if I think of it later, I may harvest a few and offer them to the foraging couple.

Everything is at rest on this fine morning, as the birds are nowhere to be seen. They are most likely still tucked away for the time being, or perhaps exploring new pastures. We’re not the only prairie in the area.

And the grogginess has mostly lifted. Coffee helps, always.

I’m trekking out to the garden to see what’s for breakfast. What a life!


May 31

The last week slipped by with a flurry of activity around here and elsewhere. The rock has been lifted and the ants scatter—the town is awash with foot traffic. The couple made it back, and they brought me a bag filled with foraged greens and some orange and purple flowers they claim are edible. They look more ornamental, but if they end up poisonous, I won’t miss out on too many more days. I still have a morbid sense of humor, which may have corrupted your minds as kids with me joking about bombs and jumping off bridges, but what else can we do in the face of inevitability? In return, I offered the couple a sack of green garlic and some of those crimson pine cones. I didn’t have the heart to ask if they’d heard about the remaining eaglet, as most people around here follow them online and discuss the latest while waiting in line at the grocery store. I still don’t know if the two adult eagles are together. But I’m still supportive of the mother. What an act of faith, having those youngsters. I read somewhere, perhaps online, that hawks, falcons, eagles, and other birds of prey have a less than 10 percent survival rate after a couple years. I’m not sure if that makes me feel better or worse for their loss.

Where did the month go? Where does a life go?

Perhaps one day you will find these entries. They will be in your mother’s lockbox. It’s only a matter of time. I’ve never been great at verbalizing things, both when your mother was alive and after, but I find the solitude of writing quite liberating. I didn’t know I had so much to say! So many thoughts. I could go on and on, and on and on.

I’ve told you in the past that fall is my favorite season. It is, and always will be. I love the crispness of fall. When the air sharpens, so do my senses, and so does my sense for change, a change marked by hunkering down. The loss of light. The gathering of root vegetables, the storing of onion and garlic, and the consumption of heartier foods that mark the change in eating patterns and appetite. And apples. Apple pie, apple crisp, apple sauce.

And for as much as I love the fall collectively, it is true that my favorite individual month is May. It’s indescribable the feeling I have as we shift from winter to spring and into summer. It’s not all great—May—it’s often very busy and unpredictable and teeming with a jitteriness that keeps me awake at nights, but oh how hopeful. How full of life. You’ve never seen a blue sky like the blue skies of May. Everything is possible in May, and this is why I chose to track my month through this journal of sorts, which is really for you. I do think I am my best self in May. Never a more optimistic version of myself will appear anywhere else on the calendar, and I suppose I wanted to leave my best thoughts and best self for you to read, reflected by this wonderful month. My feet feel great today. I may even try to walk to town. It’s only a mile, and I can call Anytime Taxi if the walk home seems too much. Yes, I think that’s what I’ll do—I’ll give it a good go. But first, let’s figure out what’s for breakfast.



Keith LesmeisterKeith Lesmeister is the author of the story collection We Could’ve Been Happy Here. His writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, Gettysburg Review, North American Review, SLICE, Sycamore Review, and elsewhere. He’s an editor for Cutleaf and EastOver Press and lives in Iowa’s Driftless region. Find him online at

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