Passing last summer’s weathered hay,
the tires splash on blacktop as fall rain shingles off
an umbrella, weeps from the cupola,
makes a cool counterpoint to the zealous
blooming in my friend’s head, the malady
that sets a milk carton on a lit stove,
shuffles into the garden, naked as a rosebush.
It won’t be long now.
The dead this fall—their absolute numbers--
heavier than I thought, than brush
piled against the fence, their particular faces
reduced to one skeletal face, as all that was
supple, extra is pared away until their passing
requires only someone to sit and watch
the scant twist of flesh from which inclination departs.
Driving into the fast-growing tumor of the city,
winter rye sprouting in the sidewalk cracks, a quick
explosion of chill shucked knees and elbows,
I leave behind remaindered dirt--
beyond recognition, all that’s left of fall--
the damaged stone, the austere moons of their nails.