Autumn Verse

the first northern lights of the year
shimmer dim brilliance
the wind kicks up
and the animals want us to come out and play
though it is dark
and you have gone early to bed

the newly gilded Hansa roses
flame against the red of our house
just the way you said they would
when you planted them
small twigs
that held the promise
of rosehips

there is half a cake on the freezer
a wild berry torte
left over from Con Brio 45 years
the chamber choir
born half way between our birth cries
where we both now sing
where we met over a single lost gold pencil
that when found
turned out to have never been lost at all

you made the cake
carried it to the party
in a cake box labeled
with my ex-mother-in-law’s name
in old school cursive
on masking tape
that has brittled and easily pulls off

she must have wanted that cake box
and I must have meant to do it
or thought he should
her son
and he didn’t, leaving it for me
and there it sat
in our mutual neglect and refusal
while the old woman
climbed the seventy-five steps
from basement to attic
so many times
she forgot what she was looking for

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