A Sunday in the Early Fall
by Dale Boyer


You walk the streets among the gathering debris,
the detritus of summer underfoot.
It crackles brittlely with every step.
The neighbors in the house next door are readying
for fall: the blue steps leading down
into their drained white swimming pool. Their daughter
Emily starts preschool in a few days. Nick,
their son, will be attending kindergarten.
In the slow, inexorable diminution of the year,
you see your breath before you like chastisement:
it is all you have produced. Now, standing
at the edge of summer's playing field,
you see that last night's rains
have washed the chalk-marked lines away.
A solitary dog runs unattended to its furthest edge.
At home again, you sit and watch the football game
on t.v., looking up from time to time
as though expecting that a child might toddle in the room.
Your friends know what they're doing with their lives.






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