September, and the world is in its yellow period.
Giant sunflowers bend over us
like benign ogres.

A riot of rough oxeye and goldenrod
in the fields. Final conflagration
before the cold creeps in.

Goldfinches have found the purple spikes
of anise hyssop, now gone to seed.
The plant shakes with their feather weight.

“Angela,” the spam text on my phone pings.
“Lose forty-five pounds in two weeks!”
By dint of a little mental arithmetic,

I realize that is more than one-third
of my entire body weight. I think I’ll emulate
the woodchuck gorging in the garden,

doing his job of tripling his weight for winter.
He does not appear to question either
his destiny or his diet.

I’ll do my best to ignore reductive invitations,
get back to the work of making more
and not less of myself.

Angela Patten is author of four poetry collections, most recently The Oriole & the Ovenbird (Kelsay Books 2021), and a prose memoir. Born and raised in Dublin, she now lives in Burlington, Vermont, where she is a Senior Lecturer Emerita in the English Department at the University of Vermont.