Late Morning in Autumn
Who said ghosts are dim and unsubstantial?
This day is bright and beautiful, the sun
November-sharp and cool on toothed and yellow leaves.
The drive runs down from one house, past another,
Where all that’s gone still sits behind a locked red cattle gate
Staring at the road,
And everything that could but never will
Glints keenly in departed eyes.
Cloaked in the spring-borrowed, light-dyed caul of memory,
Nothing dull survives the sprawl of memory.
In a mossy clay vase, hothouse lilies and roses furl out,
burgundy and fleshy pink, summer enthralled to memory.
Outlines, oak and winglike ginkgo leaves on asphalt
drift in from primeval walls of memory.
I buy apples, yellow glowing red mottled green, speckled
like Ember Day Easter eggs that defy the pall of memory.
What is the name of that splendid red tree, doggedly leaning
too close to the house? “Doomed,” I thought, each fall in memory.
I collect uncrushed pine cones, coveting their blossoming
perfection strewn under slender trees tall as memory.
That gold November, days of shedding hickories
blazed deep and mild and brilliant, like elven halls of memory.
After its fullness, is autumn anything more than
fading radiant hues recalled in memory?
The calendar records the date and name: Thanksgiving.
I am a dark victor, both a wielder and a thrall of memory.
Nicole Stallworth is a freelance writer with a bachelor’s degree in English. She writes to explore the interplay of life, language, and Logos. She has spent most of her life in Georgia where she is matriarch of her own small tribe, as well as an educator, vanilla lover, and aficionado of nature and art journals.