Walking by the creek
the leaves gather at my feet, like
children eager to hear a story
from their second grade teacher.
Only these leaves pay more attention.
A swirling mass of brown, gold, and green
cascade down from the treetops that reach up into the sky.
Above the trees, gray and white clouds cover the sun.
The sun wrestles for victory, peeking out briefly.
Then it is gone.
A gentle breeze pushes me along my way.
The rusty park gate creaks a solemn farewell
as I make my way down the gravel
drive of the apple orchard.
I walk further along and see
Couples coupling, and cider giving warmth
to the hands of those
forgetting that just because it”s late
doesn”t mean it”s also an early winter.
my hands are warmed from within the oversized
sleeves of a gray, faded sweater.
My jeans now feel snug
in their sixth straight day on my body.
A dog whose leash drags lazily behind him greets me
a short distance from the orchard.
He sniffs my feet curiously.
A grateful master snatches my new friends collar
gasping a thank you with the same breath lost in the chase.
Continuing my stroll down the street I see
porches full of grinning gourds and leering skulls
as children count the days until
they can scare each other silly.
At least until the streetlights come on.
The dusk comes that much earlier,
when you don”t want your day to end.