End of Summer
Just an uncommon lull in the traffic
so you hear some guy in an apron, sleeves rolled up,
with his brusque sweep brusque sweep of the sidewalk,
and the slap-shut of a too-thin rental van,
and the I told him no a gust has snatched from a conversation
and brought to you, loud.
It would be so different
if any of these were missing is the feeling
you always have on the first day of autumn,
no, the first day you think of autumn, when somehow
the sun singling out high windows,
a waiter settling a billow of white cloth
with glasses and silver, and the sparrows
shattering to nowhere are the Summer
waving that here is where it turns
and will no longer be walking with you,
traveler, who now leave all of this behind,
carrying only what it has made of you.
Already the crowds seem darker and more hurried
and the slang grows stranger and stranger
and you do not understand what you love;
yet here, rounding a corner in mild sunset,
is the world again, wide-eyed as a child
holding up a toy even you can fix.
How light your step
down the narrowing avenue to the cross streets,
October, small November, barely legible December.
“End of Summer” is from By the Numbers: Poems and Aphorisms (Copper Canyon Press, 2010).