LATE SEPTEMBER


Look, how the light is beginning to dim,
tarnished like old silver rubbed thin,
a note from a lover read over and over,
folded too many times. The flowers are
trying to outdo themselves: goldenrod,
purple asters, the dusty mauve of autumn
sedum; colors from the parlors
of half-remembered
aunts. There’s so much to love
in this undoing: the sun losing its nickel
of light every night, clouds turning
pumpkin, wild grape, pewter—
There’s a need for something aged
and smoky: Lapsang Souchong,
single malt Scotch. Even as it
frays and unravels—the leaves
letting go, the birds leaving—this late
radiance plays us like a cello,
a last quartet, a kiss at the station,
all of us waving good-bye, good-bye.
~Barbara Crooker
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