Vignettes of Autumn Equinox in These Woods We Once Called Home
by V. P. Crowe

Not so far
from engines' roar and rumble,
children's stifled cries,
from muffled, covered earth;
but far enough that I can close my eyes,
pretend to cover them in soft, oak leaf whispers.

Overhead, shadows part and gently chide.
Here, blue skies still nurture promises – today's,
the first monarch southward-bound, savoring
the end of summer.

Beyond these woods (not so far at all) lie
neon nights and shoes and ozone days, promises
that click and thump and whir and take
no notice of gibbous moon, too swollen
to reach her lover's crimson-purple canvas
before it fades
to black.
But beneath the canopy, here
where light becomes leaf
becomes earth

The life and breath once nourished here
still stirs, and I stop to listen as the distant
mingling of mine and my lovers' blood becomes
the rhythms of our elders, whispering with the oak
of canvas, sunlight, love and rage,
of promises,
of hope.

Seventeen summers (eighteen, really)
seem so few in this old tangle of second-growth,
but then they are the only ones you've known. Suddenly
I wish you could have spent more of them here, and wonder
if you ever still remember
what the nighttime sounded like, when we
could watch the Scorpion climb the southern sky.

I do miss the whippoorwills, I do. But they
are not so far away.
Not so far at all.

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