Given to the frost these autumn colors
long years awaited, months to build & blaze
their gorgeous warning through a countryside
our children will not know. Eternal days
gutter like tapers toward aphelion:
time now for winter shelter, winter ways.
Given to the frost our fragile cities
bright with banners, dance, & brilliant song
offered up in sunlight. Wine flowed gladly
here amid these fountains, where a strong
northern gust whips whitecaps cold as snow
sifting through a season decades long.
Given to the frost vain thoughts of plenty:
uncounted loaves & fishes, crumbs to spare
for all who ride this rock into the exile
our fickle star requires. No mystics there
will multiply a harvest—or create
one extra drop of water, breath of air.
Given to the frost our lost & stateless,
grasshoppers of a summer fading fast
as faces in the nightmares we’ll deny
next morning to each other. Past is past,
the dry leaves whisper, drifting deep across
our hatchways locked & sealed & safe at last.