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On the Cusp of Autumn
by Mary Jo Balistreri

September hangs like a cocoon,
the heavy hooded trees withdrawing their faces,
summer's heady extravagance fading.
In the stillness, the trees are monks at prayer,
blank-faced, inscrutable.

What interests me is this uncoiling in increments,
how the stored fire of the sun ignites a spark
shaped by silence and night until a bonfire of color
becomes a cathedral of rose windows and stained glass.

Today, in sun's shadow, October rises:
embroidered hills expressing in color
David's jubilent psalms.
Dark underground of pond, silver flashes of carp,
fallen leaves floating—scarlet, amber, a dusty rose.

In the pulsing glow of this autumn day, I am reminded
of stars in the night sky, the way the flare of a comet burns
red in black. And I wonder in the dense ink of human loss,
in the naked exposure of winter, if we, too, aren't shaped
by the dark we would rather avoid.


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