END OF SEASON

Will Walker


The trees will be staying the winter,
though some of them will have to get naked to do it.

The ones with berries or fruit
will let their crops ripen, then wither.

We are not so hardy,
do not speak the language of winter,

shudder at the thought of snow tires
and chains, plows, and months of frozen ground.

When the leaves start
making their early exit we take a cue

and start thinking lonely thoughts
about packing up, exiting this empty stage,

and saying Good-bye.
Each leave-taking now more final,

more nearly the last.
And what we’ll leave behind: merely another summer

of days when I open my eyes
to wonder, and to the self so long gone

I only glimpse him
slipping down to the beach or setting sail

in the corner of memory,
or between houses where I see the sunlight

scatter its casual handful of diamonds
on the sea. Going home: no sweeter sorrow.

Advancing in retreat. Letting go.
Clearing out. Each time different. And the same.


Walker’s work has appeared in Alabama Literary Review, Bark, Blue Lake Review, Burningword, Chagrin River Review, Common Ground Review, Crack the Spine, Euphony, Forge, Hartskill Review, Jet Fuel Review, Nimrod International Journal, Parcel, Passager, Pennsylvania English, Rougarou, Salamander, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Slow Trains, Southern Poetry Review, Studio One, and Westview. His chapbook, Carrying Water, was published by Pudding House Press, and his full-length collection, Wednesday After Lunch, is a Blue Light Press Book Award Winner (2008). Walker received his bachelor’s degree in English history and literature from Harvard College. He has attended numerous writing workshops with Marie Howe, Thea Sullivan, Gail Mazur, Robert Pinsky, Alan Shapiro, and Mark Doty. He was also an editor of the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. When not putting pen to paper, he enjoys placing bow on string and playing the cello. Walker and his wife spend their summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts.