Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2022  Vol. 21  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview


And we’re past the solstice now, sliding
back towards fall, summer
as much a descent as anything else.
You know fall has its number

when spiders start webbing up the paths
in the woods, and we’ve just gotten used
to the fattening day when the evening begins
to get slimmer and the light’s confused

about how exactly it should shine,
the pale blackberry yellow
of exposition, or the flat-blade gold
of a story’s end, the glow

of a coda’s familiar opening words.
And then there’s the birds: arrivals
and departures check the screen
in summer’s terminal

and while they wait they fill the fields
and the flowerheads looking for food.
Buntings are pilot lights in the wheat;
woodpeckers arming the woods

with their endless wild alarm. Soon
the poplars will drop their flares,
first leaves to yellow and test the wind,
and every year I share

in the ground’s surprise: how could it be
this time already, how
did we get to these days without my knowing?
And what I ought to do now

is take notes or something, make a list
to help prepare me better
for next year’s turn, use language, I mean,
as a guide, a watchful letter

to myself. Oh no. This is sounding familiar.
Is that what I’ve been doing
here this whole long time, trying
to teach myself something

about myself or about myself
in the ambivalent world
around me? Is it a warning? All
my fancy talk, purled

and fringed with images and rhyme
and all that? I can’t read
my own code if that’s the case or even
validate my need

to document summer’s war against
itself and the aster’s winking
blueish eyes which close at night
in honor of our sinking.  

return to top