Autumnal Transitions

Four and a half mouths, this year,
She teetered on the line between states:
Fever, then none; consciousness, then un-
Sitting, mostly laying;  hi and bye;
Fighting, surrendering; breathing, not.
From flesh to ashes, from body to spirit,
As ancient now as the Parthenon. I mourn.

Now we have just moved them
Into another home
With various sorts of care.
Parent/child roles have switched.
We hear, “When are we going to eat?”
“We have just eaten.” he says. Minutes later—
“When are we going to eat?” she asks,
“ I should set the table.”
“We have just eaten,” he says.
Laid bare in her words are 60 plus years
Of speech, a repertoire of speech, patterned on
Her life of managing a household—we mourn.

The end of summer
The beginning of fall—
Daily increments of color change,
Falling leaves and temperatures,
Silence of naps,  rustling of middle schoolers’
Comings and goings through piles of leaves,
The boob tube screaming
About money and power or anything bizarre,
Or the naive programs of our childhoods,
The right and the left, pro and con,
Old and new, old and young, old and older…

…and in all these above are layers:
Layers of color, layers of wakefulness,
Layers of truthfulness and honesty,
Layers of meaning, of clothing, of nakedness,
Of confidentiality, openness and protection.
Peeling layers of pasts, photographs.
Peering to anticipated futures,
Headlights and rearview mirrors.
Autumn, full of loss and reminders,
As the leaves change and fall, they dry.
Autumn, both subtle and startling,
Is for now our map .


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