The Great Rush of Ivy (#45)

The great rush of ivy
Up the side of a sycamore—
How far does it know to go?

Red leaves, puddled before
A stoppered storm drain,
Barely moving in crystal water.

The most fertile soil lies
Between the highway and the field,
Where the farmer can’t till.

Have I spent a thousand lifetimes
Learning to see the grass?
I suspect more, and more to come.

The teacher recalled the apparition,
Describing death as taking off
A shoe that’s too tight.

Will I get to see the ivy again?
I hope so. It’s lovely, to know
That it knows what we don’t.

Mythological Blue (#44)

What a distraction, all these leaves—
I can’t see a thing!
Willow oaks shiver, aflame,
Showering axial sparks.

In Washington, Colorado Avenue
Waits until Thanksgiving to blush
Ruby, russet, bending the
Algorithm of Instagram.

Where does the sky go?
Blue, blue! This is why
Farm girls leave the gray
Dairies of upstate New York,

Suffering lobbyists, stuffed
Olives, withered trails of plastic—
Ignited autumn, in search of
Mythological blue.

Apology To A Wren (#43)

To the wren I disturbed,
Asleep in the porch eaves,
Bundled snug beneath
A November pumpkin moon,

I’m sorry, little bird,
To send you scrambling
Against a white, wooden sky
With frantic, futile resolve.

You ignored the open squares
Of night all around,
As though you were blind
To the darkness itself—

Freedom too spacious,
Too expansive, convinced that
What you could not see
Surely must not be.

Harmless Regrets (#42)

The Osage orange has been
Losing its mind,
Throwing brain-shaped fruits
At passing cars,

Painting the asphalt chartreuse.
It happens each autumn,
Days of harmless regrets—
Gardens unplanted, mornings missed,

Summer stored in sweater drawers.
Along the lane,
On a gate post,
A squirrel has hung a walnut

Hull, neatly as a cap on a peg.
Its uncrushable shell,
Broken in bits. The frozen
Light is too bright to be borne.

Wild Man in Suburbia (#41)

When I was a boy, on Halloween,
Trick or treating meant bypassing
The authentic, haunted farm houses
Of my rural community, spaced

Unwalkable half miles distant,
Windows black as skull sockets,
Their spiderwebbed porches unlit,
Graveyard yards unwelcoming.

Instead, I was driven twenty five
Minutes to the nearest subdivision,
Brightly lit with festive windows,
Flickering flames of jack-o-lanterns,

Dropped off with friends to chaperone
Ourselves through the groomed streets,
Until our pumpkins overflowed with candy,
Or eight o’clock—whichever came first.

“Did you hear,” a passing kid warned,
Breathing hard, voice urgent
Behind an Incredible Hulk mask,
“There’s a wild man out tonight!”

A wild man! We turned to one another.
What could it mean? We never feared
The razor blades hidden within
Fresh apples, mostly because

We never received any apples.
Even blindfolded, we knew that the
Bowls of eyeballs were peeled grapes,
The swallowed goldfish, canned peaches.

But a wild man was something new,
Foreboding. We walked cautiously,
Clustered tight, nervous as costumed
Chickens, clucking our misgivings.

And so, when an hour later the wild man
Leaped, roaring from the shadows,
Rushing towards us, all I saw was
Horror, murder, death, darkness,

Halloween’s promise fulfilled, and I ran,
Losing my friends, my way, my mind,
Sprinting, if I could have, all the way home
To those sweetly haunted farm houses,

While behind me, my friends now
Undoubtedly slain, butchered into chunks,
The wild man raised gore-spattered claws,
Threw back his gruesome head, and howled.