Standing in a river of fire,
swept in a swirl of swollen maples
now breathing in October’s late
afternoon fashion show
like a lazy city tramp who has
lost his way and is
rustling in the leaves,
touching wicker bark and
wet, dark branches
like an operetta symposium,
it sings to us,
in shocking silence of golds, burgundies
with flames that leap towards quiet stillness.
Mauves and hydrangeas
and paint-by-number canvass
with soft brushstrokes someone has
and scattered the dreams of sunflowers
across Van Gogh’s sky, leaving
lime green speckled bushes, baby pine,
dead logs, and deer that stop for the moment.
“You see this tree here?” he said.
“When we come back here again, it won’t be the same.”
This poem appeared previously in Where the Street Ends and Distilled Lives (2010).
Used here with the author’s permission.