Here at Summer's End

Arthur_and_sl_at_soccer_gameby Sydney Lea01 Aug 2016

–for Jerry Dennis

Birds have largely quieted, which may distress us,

and like neglected old mail, the garden’s lettuce
went yellow weeks back, then simply dissolved. But we ought to pause
before we focus on loss
in a season still teeming with vegetation.
No matter the month, our sense of wonder won’t leave–
unless we will its retreat.
The mercury continues to flirt with 80, so
it’s wondrous, say, how the flickers know
to convene for migration. We can watch the flocks in the roadbeds.

And a wonder as well, whatever the force is
that already starts to blanch the legs of the snowshoe hares.
Our longing is always for now to endure,
though since the Magdalenian, contemplators
have found in death an engine of beauty.
Truth is, however, our world will never go dead:
those heads of lettuce have fused with humus below,
and after these flickers wing off, the juncos and titmice will show,
and the spectral hares of winter

won’t be ghosts at all but creatures
with dark flesh packed onto bone under pallid hides;
coyotes will hunt them to keep alive
through the ineluctable chill.
And even then, the ice-beads on evergreen boughs may look,
if we want, like permitted fruit. As each season nears,
or lingers, or ends, an amplitude may tell us
we can still be subject to spells.
We’re here after all. We ought to chant it, like so much birdsong:

we’re here we’re here we’re here.