END OF SEASON
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.