I felt betrayed by the cherry trees
That began to drop yellow leaves
Some time over the Labor Day weekend.
And saw the ginkos had joined in. Their
Leaves, which usually fling gold to the
Autumn air after the oranges and reds
Have done a danse macabre in the gutter,
Confirmed my fears, some of their branches
Washed with bright ochre.
Not the fried brown edging of city foliage
In a dry August, these leaf guilder portend
Cricket chorus should have warned me,
But the usual emissaries hadn’t made their
Visits, leaping urgently on the kitchen floor,
Trilling their recitatives from secret hiding places.
Maybe they, too, had assumed a later fall, and
Opera when the curtain rose on a changed scene.
But here’s the thing. Maybe it’s not the timing,
Sooner or later than expected, but the reminder
Gather the firewood, acknowledge the darkness,
That matters. Because just as there is high summer,
There is also February when only the evergreens
Stand cloaked in color, and if you had known,
You would have bottled the light, laid in a
Store of cheer, and woven a beautiful cloak
Of warm, soft yarns, large enough to share.
Luckily this year, I’m fully aware that fall is on the way, inexorably. Still, I hope to bottle a bit more light in the next few weeks before the equinox takes away any vestige of deniability.