After summer, brown gulls and red cardinals
bring autumn inland, slowly,
on their salt-sprinkled backs, wings pumping
with chill. I pull my scarf around my neck
like a noose, billowing air blows leaves
in the wind. It will soon be
the season of death, and now, surrounded
by the bright colors of flame,
we move like a flock, although we go
in the direction of snow.
We are furious at having to acknowledge
constant aches and the suffering
that comes with age, the precursors
to our mortality’s end. But for now, early in
an autumn in which the news is always bad,
we sit around back on the patio
in pillowed Adirondack chairs, the air
smelling of ocean, the sunset emptying of birds.
My sense of your face as the darkness creeps
through the backyard lessens
until your soft chuckling is the only thing
assuring me you still exist.
I reach for you as a breeze picks up.
My hand finds nothing, as if
the upcoming winter has already taken you.
Christine Delea is originally from the South Shore of Long Island and, after living all over the country, now lives in Oregon. She is a former university professor; currently does volunteer work for a few local and regional nonprofits. She also makes beaded jewelry, quilts, and headdresses. Her web site is www.mchristinedelea.com; it includes a blog where she posts writing prompts on Sundays and poems she loves every Sunday and Wednesday. Her full-length collection is from Main Street Press and is called The Skeleton Holding Up the Sky; she has 3 chapbooks.