A note from summer


I’ve heard it said I look my best in late September,
the bloom of my skin, the freckles fading from my arms.
Wasps are fussing in the quince trees. Pomegranates wait
to fall. The year turns slowly in the slow air.

I should’ve called a cab and left here long ago.
But like the fool I am, I've overstayed. So let
me lean a little longer on the kitchen windowsill,
dropping these last petals in the bowl.

Equinox. And there’s the chapel bell. Sunday
is a day for separation. The young drive back
to the city. The old stay on. And still no rain.
Michaelmas is late to hope for grace.

I can hear the stubbled hill, black above the village,
calling for a cloud to rub its back. A woman
lifts a stick and shakes it at the sky.
I won’t stay to argue with the storm.

Let me slip away unnoticed in the bonfire smoke, before
the first moths settle or the apples bruise. I leave
a little warmth in pears in cardboard boxes,
a thread of perfume folded in the linen.



Peter Wise