Again, autumn is gone too soon. Only in October
and the hayfields bronze and glowing.
their raucous calls speak of endings, of want.
to resist. What is there to look to
wheatfield, night gathering, bringing crows.
Oh, Vincent. Maybe you spent your whole life
and then one day, you finally let them in.
Apartment windows glazed with soot, every darkened room
a grid of panes, a slice of sky, just out of reach, a broken moon
puddles in the blacktop mirrored by hubcaps, glimpses of infinity
in fractured halos, each streetlight hanging like a token moon
a stalled bus opens its doors at the bus stop, a neon biker
stitches the streets, traffic lights flash like desires unspoken, moon
at dawn, moon at noon, sun flees west, all slides toward dark
we know when the stars will rise, but not you, un-woken moon
if time is distance, and distance is time, then how can we measure
these miles that fracture into months, splinters of a broken moon
is it a song that keeps you with me, is that how I still know
the gauze of night, these echoes heard that can’t be spoken, moon–
light can hold it all, how I sing of sorrow in dimming light, how gravity
calls me to the world, but the world still wounds me open, moon.
A she-fox lives in our neighborhood. One autumn
I glimpsed her on the edge of the woods, curled up
in a leaf pile beside a fallen elm, an orange ball,
glowing. One neighbor fed her supermarket eggs
and cut-up chicken parts, one neighbor set up
an electric fence, turned his dogs loose at night,
some of us drive more slowly, scan the edge of the hill,
glance up while raking, hope she stops long enough
to view even a part of her, slender nose, black legs
russet coat, white tail tip. She barks at us,
a soft cough, a warning not to get too close.
Poetry feels like that, keeps us close enough
to bring a small part back, the rest slips
away, one part in focus, one part wild.
I like that, want to be there, in that place.
Once she sat atop a large rock, kits wrestling
and tumbling beside her. Once a male fox limped by,
rear paw held in a rusty snare, chain trailing behind.
Once a fox-hater stood in the driveway of
a fox-feeder, cursing their family, threatening
to hire a sharp-shooter. And like that, she
was gone. Just gone. November. December. Wind
howled through bare treetops, snow piled in drifts.
January. February. In a dream, an unseen animal paces
my spine, paws planting on places that need
to crack open. Then, against the snowy hillside,
a gift I didn’t earn or deserve, watching me, watching her.