Autumn, New York, 1999
And I am full of worry I wrote to a friend
Worry, she replied about what—love, money, health?
All of them, I wrote back. It’s autumn, the air is clear
and you hear death music—the rattle of leaves swirling
the midnight cat howling, a newborn baby’s 3 am
call for food or help or heart’s love
At the market, the green, red and yellow apples are piled high,
sweet perfume—once, I went apple picking in Massachusetts
a day of thralling beauty, my companions and I
had no desire to leave the valley—the plump trees,
the fierce pride of small town New England where a gift shop
exploded gingham, calico, silly stuffed toys
we stood within this shrine to cloying femininity of entwined hearts
and ribbons and bows like invading aliens, fascinated and appalled
and here too, people throng around the dahlias—
the last of the bright fat flowers. Open. Scentless.
It is going to be a very hard winter and we all know it in our bones
an almost atavistic memory with instruction—wear heavy clothes
horde food, drink water, stand against the wind
Copyright © 2010 by Patricia Spears Jones. From Painkiller (Tia Cucha Press, 2010). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.