Autumn in Florida is Strange and Sad When I have Lost

Yellow, yellow, yellow / it eats through the leaves…
—William Carlos Williams, “Love Song”

Late November and gusts
rock the oaks to groans.
The living will find shelter:

pygmy rattlers seeking ground palms
for sleep, lizards scurrying
into thorny hiding places, armadillos

burrowing deep in suburban lawns. The heat
will lift, at last, and so will the windows
we’ve sealed shut for months.

But the living will mourn, too—the crisp leaves,
the late evening sun, the wild
vines scaling concrete walls,

now withering from cold. We will mourn
all our loses, the death of a year,
our chests closing like a snapper’s bite,

our voices, too, yellow and silent
as closed-fisted morning glories.
Our mothers told us this will pass,

this sadness, but even they are gone,
and what remains is their memory,
which fades, leaf by leaf.

We cling to a future
foggy and frigid as morning
ponds where time’s incessant

ticking will bring green
back, will bring heat
that sizzles skin and thaws the core of us.

But remember, there is a poem in every leaf,
the fall of it, its swish and sway on the current,
the inevitability of a kiss at the end.