Size / / /

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.

Ann K. Schwader lives, writes, and volunteers at her local branch library in Westminster, CO. Her most recent poetry collection is Twisted in Dream (Hippocampus Press 2011). Her dark SF poetry collection Wild Hunt of the Stars (Sam's Dot Publishing, 2010) was a Bram Stoker Award nominee. She is a member of SFWA, HWA, and SFPA. Her LiveJournal is Yaddith Times.
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