Artwork borrowed from Unsplash.com
Autumn Now and Then
Days shorten, but the chief impetus
to raking leaves is what neighbors think;
and in provision the only stocking up
is to buy off tricks with treats.
Harvest Moons, breasting the wrack
over rattling cornstalks, told the saints
to fill their lofts with hay, their sheds
with wood, their jars with preserves
and stewed tomatoes. The hour was on;
made them righteous out of necessity.
Winter would pull its white comforter
around house and barn and tuck them in.
Nights were long, but the harvest home.
Some Sundays early I seem to hear
the wagons rattling past on the way
to their little church without electricity
that burned in '32 or '33. They bring
firewood and produce to the minister,
pretty much his salary for telling them
of their sins. Hard life all around.
They drive by silent. Soon, wagons
will be sleighs. They return to cellar holes,
eyes straight ahead, careful not to watch
my leaves blow into a neighbor's yard.