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