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Saturday, September 20, 2014


by W.F. Lantry

Our marbled cherry trees have lost their leaves.
It’s not yet solstice. Birds are gathering
in hidden trees along the riverside.
I listen to them from the forest’s edge
and mark the dew on willows, heavy pods
of wisteria, weighing down each separate vine,
disordered grass stems tangling Mary’s feet.

We’ve each spent lifetimes learning all these signs:
our Fall is coming, even though the days
seem long enough to finish everything.
I take on so little. I take on far too much:
the red clay pond, half dug and filled with rain
beckons. It’s pleasant work, but other tasks
with other frames conspire. Is there time?

And yesterday, at dusk, we crossed a field.
I offered her my shirt against the cold
and noticed how the hawks have disappeared
replaced by owls and foxes, how the deer
made bold by wind, invade, how sedum change
from white to rose. Some moving into red
presage feathered designs of ice-framed ponds.

W.F. Lantry’s poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012), winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, The Language of Birds(Finishing Line 2011), and a forthcoming collection The Book of Maps. Honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors' Poetry Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (Israel), and the Potomac Review and LaNelle Daniel Prizes. His work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Asian Cha and Aesthetica. He works in Washington, DC and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW.