Margaret, behind you is someone
whose heart churns slowly as decay.
Eve in “grieving” and “unleaving”
is his joke with God, whom he suffers
to accommodate like slow burn-
ing of vegetation into earth
in autumn. His presumption as
to what has caused your sadness I
shall not presume to understand;
though I must think that any child,
witness to such pageantry as
red and golden leaves and joyful
songs of harvest, would not pause to
contemplate harbingers of death.
You turn and that man turns.
Margaret, his soul is ready
for the next breeze to send it flut-
tering towards earthly fires,
where a wounded god is healing in your eyes.
from his book Snug Harbor
Wesleyan University Press, 1986
Used with permission of the poet.