We Have So Little Time Left

Already, the sunlight is shrinking like an old shirt

that barely covers the belly, even while it glows

gilding the dried up cattails, the snapped branches

that pierce the cloudless sky like a severed bone.

 

Only smudges of light left on the slick leaves

languishing in icy mud, and on the rushing squirrels,

newly fattened for their long, incredible fast.

Fewer acorns endure under the detritus

 

to trip our balance. The sky is less blue,

the slippery light distant, when it isn’t daring us

with glare. All the garden vegetables remaining

taste like old, cold dirt.

 

Soon my jaw will forget how to release from its clench

against the elements, and soon we’ll crave the elements,

predictable days of final growth—the hardening

stems racing to ripen before turning to rot.

 

The air will sizzle, and some far away bed

of ice will implode, or simply drip. Death

by a thousand small cuts. But tonight, like every night,

the sun will set in its predictable pattern, cutting off

 

another sliver of our lives. And we might crawl

into bed with a cup of tea, a fantasy

story while fat squirrels scutter up snags

of what once upon a time were trees.