Adieu, Summer
by Sheri Lindner

When dusk robes the trees earlier each day,
and night air carries a tinge of chill;
when summer slips bit by bit into autumn,
no matter how abundantly you have lived
June, July and August,
don't you want just a little more:
one more swim across the lake;
a little more time to cup hydrangea puffs
in your two palms like caressing the cheeks of a lover,
before they trade their pink blush for copper?
It doesn't matter that we are recompensed
with arboreal flamboyance, that gorgeous set design
for the death scene we know follows,
the ballet of pirouetting leaves
that with the help of wind and rain and waning light,
without a glance backward release themselves,
exit the stage.
It doesn't matter that we know
that tender green buds and shoots
will unfurl, burst open next April
and all will be green again,
because they won't be these leaves, these phlox,
these cimicifuga around which the bees
did their tribal dance and hummed their gathering songs
all September long.
For a time, none of this knowing matters
because your sadness chronicles all of this
as a little loss, a little death
but you witness those floating leaves and diving velvet petals
and soon, not without reluctance
and not with resignation
but with inevitability, you, too,
loosen your grip
on all you cannot hold
and you gather the rotted blossoms,
the shriveled and cracking foliage
into your root center
and store the splendor securely
until spring.


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