I wake thinking about death and compost.
Because we’re old, because I’m frightened
for myself, my husband, my brother, his
wife, their daughters. The day feels like a
Friday, a Saturday, a Tuesday, a day unlike
others. Days shift, change shape, become
something other than themselves, their
identities fluid yet irrevocable, moving
always to another.

Tomorrow the equinox: autumn’s end.
Can fall still be my favorite season now
that I know winter so well? Beneath a
swelling bud, the shriveled leaf. Agonies
of April, October’s consummations. In
each a swelling rhythm. In each, beauty
which includes chords of death, of decay.
The beauty of red sky reflected in a
window facing

mine when I wake, of the baroque curl
of branches in an oak two yards away
against pale gray-blue sky, its leaves gone
blackish green. Blossoms in our gnarled
old tree hydrangea, each one a cluster of
tiny blooms. All morning’s colors are
muted, steeping in this gray blue light.

driving in this heavy light, through a
thick afternoon’s dense traffic, on streets
named Corona, Dakota, Linden, Tecla,
Tonawanda, I felt that nothing fits
together. I am tired of being in pain.
Of being afraid of dying. I stew and
shake, shake and stir. The brew steeps,
seeps into crevices, corners. I pray
for surcease.