The Dregs of October



Tomorrow is Halloween,
when harvest shifts into death.
I walk home through rainy cold:
downtrodden leafy porridge,
oak leaves tumbled brown,
sycamore leaves flat as pancakes,

but then the occasional flash of brightness—
beauty fallen and blown from who knows what tree.
I want to rescue this one, that one:
the bright red mandorla, the freckled orange,
that vibrant yellow that must be maple!

Even knowing that each one would finish
by dying and drying, each would fade
without the lacquer of this rain.
Pressed between book pages,
each one would dull and turn fragile.

Hard though that is to imagine.

Look for bright words instead—
they too may age, and dull and change,
but much more gradually. For a being
of my considerable decades, probably
the bright ones now will last as long
as I do, and very likely longer.

Each one will go on standing forth
with its own bright emphasis
as the sidewalk ticks through time.


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