The sight of the leaves tonight's dark will swallow. The buzzing of the crickets will be softened by the growing chill, and then silenced by dawn. The disintegrated words, the fleeing thoughts, the ghostly intentions— these seem beyond hope. I will leave their fate to the diminishing days.
On one of those days I will pick up the rake and heap the fallen leaves, then bin them and send them away. More will come next year. Winter will kill the insects, but more will come next year. The seasons and the serial shapes of the moon, they always return, and need no assistance from me.
It is the things in my head I really don't know what to do with, or about. They are being taken as though by a wind that blows from some cosmic clock, while the leaves, the insects, the moon's phases, the days and nights, are tickings, fast or slow, but inevitable. So, too, will be the arcs of the rake when I heap those leaves. So, too, are my fingerfalls on the keyboard. Part of the mechanism, I count my own time's passage. But when I put aside the rake the leaves will continue to grow and fall. They will grow and fall uncounted ages. Maybe I'll join them.
Having to Decide Amongst Ourselves
by Nance Van Winckel
We'd made even the flags: cardboard and
mucilage flapping over extinct empires
reincarnate in the attic. And fought for
with tiny blue soldiers ordered into battle
by Barbies. No windows, and these old wars
dragging on. A backbeat of rain and whinnying
horses. Due south: another boy-prince gone mad.
A collapsed country is a folded page shoved
back in the trunk. The tall dolls stalk among
the carnage. This bleeds into the blood. So
the women who'll one day be sleeping
with other women's husbands are already
asleep at our backs, wedged against our ribs.
Still wielding a heavy scepter, one queen, ten
years later, has swooned across her bed, still
strapped into black high heels, calling a man
a coward and herself a fool and the marriage
they're about to go through with a doomed
campaign. Her eyes rolled back. The other queen
pulling the blanket up. A rain around the sound
of steady marching, and every route out
a territory they've already ravaged.