Only black-and-tan clumps
cling anymore to our oaks
(raking finally making sense),
which stand silent as pickets
this side of winter’s no-longer
fierce or precise approach.
I’m over a father’s death,
an angry mother’s postmortem
reach (though there it is again),
the delusion that autumn’s demise
warns us of anything. Those fears?
Fading—their threatening hues
mere harmless colors after all.
Instead, a dogwood’s scrawny pecs
spread stripped limbs to greet us
into the new season’s breach,
a wind-scrambled blueprint of
tangled twigs, leaf eddies, and rain.
What’s to come used to command
such aching concentration, demands
collected in the heart. Now, subdued,
it signals no sad story tracking itself
across some dismal arena dressed in
black, elegiac notes—but noodles muted
scales that free the blood and coast us
toward a more cordial space: a flip
requiem, perhaps, for chronic requiems.
This is a reprint of work originally published in I-70 Review.
D. R. James has taught college writing, literature, and peace-making for 36 years and lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan, USA. Poetry and prose appear in various anthologies and journals (including Eunoia Review). His most recent of nine collections are Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2020), Surreal Expulsion (The Poetry Box, 2019), and If god were gentle (Dos Madres Press, 2017), and his micro-chapbook All Her Jazz is free, fun, and printable-for-folding at the Origami Poems Project. His author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/drjamesauthorpage.