by Jeanine Stevens
Shops that cater to vacationers close.
If you want a post card or souvenir shot glass,
check out the local CVS.
The slow cadence of late Autumn, a good time
to check the spatter of moth holes
on wool cardigans.
Ice and snow set limits on choices.
A local bookseller remains open.
Hardy poets stage a costume party:
one dressed as Sexton curses a dog,
another as Hefner, in a silk dressing gown,
looks amused. Someone brings absinthe.
Black ice appears on the road.
A pause before the Italians arrive,
blond women and dark haired men,
in designer ski togs and gold jewelry,
antsy to hit the slopes.
Locals pack a lunch, retreat to the lake
and count the bald eagles nesting.
LEAF by Katy Brown
DOGWOOD IN AUTUMN
by Jane Blue
The dogwood turns bronze at the edges
right on schedule, that you planted
years ago. You are both so steadfast.
It's been a long hard summer this year.
You've tended and watered the tree
since it was a tiny sapling. There is a love
that lasts through drought. Sycamores
just stand there, dirty, ragged and tired
holding out their arms for a handout
of rain. Red berries hang like ornaments,
food for the little birds that rush in and out.
A blood moon will bloom tonight
and then get eaten by the sun. But it will
miraculously recover, its bronze reflecting
the dogwood, which keeps deepening;
full moon after equinox. Smoke, acrid
in the lungs from fires in the hills
no longer suffuses this valley, but reddens
our sunsets. The season changes
in spite of itself. The world goes on
like your love, burning, smoldering . . .
GONE TO SEED by Katy Brown
LOVE AND WET SOCKS
by Viola Weinberg
O, that Wednesday
when you knocked off early
when we were so tired, so weary
that we fell on the bed like the dead
Side by side, garden-dirty, the both of us
the soil and air both soft and warm
our tired feet in their wet sox hanging over the bed
toes cracking like castanets in the breeze
Too tired to talk, we just laid there, awake
you could hear appliances humming in the kitchen
you could hear the dog and his sloppy drinking
from the blue bowl, and a fly, a screen door somewhere
But, neither of us raised a finger, listening
instead to our beating hearts, those drums of blood
We simply let love wash over us, cleanse us
heal us, peel the fatigue from our lives
Honeyed, loving thoughts were on our tongues
all the more sweet as time passed soundlessly
those minutes, so mute and beautiful are
somehow younger than the rest of our bodies
Cellular happiness, dwelling, abiding and deep