CALIFORNIA SENIOR POET LAUREATE
Dewell H. Byrd

PORTRAIT DAY

I shed my shoes in her studio,
stroll along the pencil lines
and watch her create
a private world for two.

I sit in my favorite chair
and come into focus
with each new stroke
and whisper of pencil on pad.

Outside the wind bumps
black-bottomed clouds
against Treetop Ridge;
April showers bloom.

Arthritis in my left knee
howls with the weather.
She erases the knee,
redraws it without the pain.

The lunch of farmer's stew
and cornbread settles me down
to a doze. She erases the bluster,
replaces it with a daffodil day.

I smile, she draws my mouth.
I wiggle my toes, she sketches a lap robe.
The soft scratch of pencil on pad
captures my contented sigh.

Dewell H. Byrd
Eureka, Calfornia
DEWELL H. BYRD, 78, Eureka, retired public school administrator, began writing poetry at 71, after encouragement of his wife of 58 years. Besides state SPL awards, he was 2008 National Senior Poet Laureate runner up. He has published two books and one broadside of poems. He is a Capricorn.