Autumn has put on its brittle shell,
or taken off. Half-naked and too skinny
in a rust-colored negligee, the oaks striptease
to the high ice-music
of the shifting pallor of the sky.
The photograph captures
an instant, the story
captures a thread. Nothing’s
gospel, just a little reflected
radiance, motes dancing
in a shaft of sun.
our lives are. We’re not
truth. Truth, yes, but varnish
is what we’re all about, the glossy
veneer, protective coat.
The sun in hiding now,
the Sierra dreaming of snow,
but so far there’s just this
gold and copper lingerie
strewn on the forest
floor, scattered on the green
altar of the outstretched arms of cedar,
a counterfeit clothing for these
What is revealed
in this paring down? What gets unhoused
in me as autumn’s candle sputters?
Some small ache burrows
like a mole in the dark, seeking comfort,
isolation, as the temperature
drops and the holidays
begin their unstoppable
Movies, books, a nap on the couch,
anything will do
to elude this fierce-eyed
Music of the season,
©Maxima Kahn. This poem was first published in an earlier form in the literary journal Slant.