Dear Ones - along the marsh,
the cattails' plush unravels,
soft green sideways brushes
of grass that pointed
an impressionist path all summer
suddenly bristle, braiding back
to make spiraling tendrils
of seed head, big bluestems'
purple seed feet thicken,
loose pyramids of little bluestem
hang out small pairs of
yellow bells, indigo
rattles its black pods -
all, in the shortening
light, flowering, ripening,
seeding, flying - and the crickets'
voices, warning of cold.
Dear Ones - the asparagus grass raises
pagodas of stippled gold behind the arabic
script of indigo, stiff turkeyfoot uncurls
into the calligraphy of cursive scrolls,
and in the trailing, fading brown
of their leaves, light has taken up
residence - articulate, indecipherable
script printed over autumn's watermark
in the prairie's illuminated Book of Days.
And the prairie - made by hand, the paper
traced in ink of flame and ash.
Dear Ones - wind wakes me
at 3 a.m., brief gusts
bearing the explosive force
of winter storm, and in between
strange silence - neither snow
nor rain, but rattle of siding,
scrape of branch, light music
of a neighbor's wind chimes,
the creak of trees. Answering
rattle in the house as furnace
starts up, dry leaves loose
in the heating ducts. The cat
leaps to the windowsill and we
watch as the leafless crowns
of silver maples toss and sway,
the dark isosceles of arborvitae
bend and bow, the whole sky
astir - seeing how easily the trees
give themselves to the moving sea;
and then it is morning.