of November. It strips off the rest
of the leaves, reminds trees
how to shiver. I think to Earth
it looks like the first first rain, the water
of the beginning, swirling down hot
into gassy soup. The bubbling stuff
that imagined trees to begin with, and also
mountains, kangaroos, dolphin cartilage,
stoplights. And you, tearing down
hills on Arnold street, a blur
of training wheels and streamers. And me
in the ’80s, crunching Life cereal on the couch
beside my night-owl mother, blue in the light
of David Letterman’s grin.

Try to remember, everything that is solid
is not solid. But slowly, always melting. The road
cracks, wrinkles like a folded map. Huge trees
lie down, throb into pulp inside termites.
And the ground drinks you,
though you grow, a tall drink of water,
going down easy. It swallows me faster
and faster. But don’t worry. Look at
our neighbor’s roof—those fake gray shingles
are crumbling, growing a thick pelt
of moss. Eventually
we all wake up as forest.

Copyright © 2016 Jeffrey Bean. This poem originally appeared in The Missouri Review. Used with permission of the author.