Early autumn digs its knees into the surrounding
foothills, sewing airy seeds of frost across alfalfa
fields, birch tree groves, dogwood forests, gray
goldenrod glens. Warm air shivers below wispy clouds,
whose hair half-hides the sallow cheeks of the sun.
A screeching breeze races down the gravel road
without yielding to the shrews scurrying past,
without pausing to pray to the dead doe in the ditch.
The breeze soon swoops beside your grandmother’s
front patio, where she sits with a sweaty glass
of lemonade. The breeze, now but a whimper,
a faint echo in the sun-scorched crabgrass.
She drinks her lemonade without making a sound,
her gaze roaming the air like a dove searching for its
missing nest. Her eyes fall onto her flowers, golden
gazanias in purple plastic pots placed earlier this year
on the wooden patio rail, its dry amber varnish
glistening in the twilight like ice. The gazanias hold
on to ribbons of light with their aquamarine leaves,
as though the flowers can smell the withered
hands of summer clutching this soon forgotten hour.
The leaves pull the ribbons down, failing to drag
the vermillion sun onto the tarmacs of their bronze-
striped petals, determined to seize the season
in their red center rings by closing into themselves.
The wind whimpers again, paws toward the dying
light. Stars bloom into view like tulips. Chilled
as her now empty glass, your grandmother stands up,
ambles into the house through the front door.
The final sunrays of summer scratching the treetops
in silvery orange. A desperate squall of nightingales
reaching out from blackened gooseberry brambles.
Wild roses shedding pale tears of pollen. The gazanias
finally creeping into themselves as your grandmother
opens the front door, a shawl now draped around
her neck, a fresh glass of lemonade in hand.
Jacob Butlett is a Pushcart Prize nominee with an A.A. in Liberal Arts and a B.A. in Creative Writing. Some of his work has been published in The MacGuffin, Panoply, Rat’s Ass Review, COUNTERCLOCK, Cacti Fur, South Broadway Ghost Society, Rabid Oak, Ghost City Review, Lunch Ticket, Anti-Heroin Chic, Into the Void, and plain china. He was a finalist in the 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards residency competition. Learn more about Jacob at https://jacobbutlettacademicreflection.weebly.com/.
Jacob Butlett recommends the poem “Nothing But Death” by Pablo Neruda.