As though regret
were not a waste
but a basket
passed from pew
to pew for fingers
to drop in bits
a greater good.
As though regret
was a sieve
for catching pith
and pulp of oranges
to let juice
As wine settled,
aged in oak
the fitter drink.
“Not grasping the autumn evening,
the scarecrow” -- Issa
Assembled on a cross,
he was taller than the gardener
who slid a plastic red rose in his denim lapel
sunglasses on his triangle nose.
A mother nursed her baby
in his August shadow.
Corn now willy-nilly
slumped to rains, he’s tucked
in a box for winter.
Loneliness settles a thin fog
on his community garden
Matilda, a store dummy in red and white plaids
and jeans tight on long, long legs
spent summer waving an American flag
caught in her sun bonnet shading
a red lipstick smile that never wavered.
She is gone like the red and orange dahlias
that danced at her cowgirl boots all summer,
her creator pulled her down
for a glow-in-the dark plastic skeleton,
gold maple leaves at its toe bones.
One scarecrow still banishes caws and crackles
to the hindmost bog. The cranberry farmer
shot a crow from a wicker chair on his porch,
tied it upside down to cross-bars on the deer fence
around his corn – all-winter grim
until it’s time
to till again.
A Blessing Over Fruit
October is long past ripeness. Where we walk,
the dog and I, we see the fallen
figs smashed by car treads,
Italian plums like dead bats on sidewalks,
dried up canes of July raspberries. By the hundreds
dropped on lawns, apples dotted with dark spots
of coddling moth worms.
My dog does not know end to a season. She reaches out
for dried-out blackberry husks, even ones with mold.
Yesterday she grabbed a mouthful of salal berries
as if jammed in her white teeth they might taste like jelly.
I try to tell her we have had this blessing. We have moved on.
I ate red grapes. I drooled over peaches and gushed red plums
dripping down my chin. That all will be well,
we will be fed, she may joy in a snowball.
She has a very flamboyant tail, this farm dog,
and she ignores my advice like a flag-waving fool.
Her nose seeks hard-green kiwis, persimmons
that await first frosts to ripen.
I kick scarlet, yellow and orange leaves
as though they are gold candles,
sheriff’s badges and tangerine peels.