October is when the wind gets inside my skin
turns me inside-out, becomes my breath
as a spray of scarlet leaves becomes my heart.
And my bones know what the black stones
in the old retaining wall at the corner know–
black basalt, come from the hottest fires of earth
as the soul comes hot from God’s forge.

Wind-breath, God-breath, stirring the city
you speak in so many strange tongues
moaning around buildings, whispering in trees
chattering with dead leaves. Flesh can’t contain
such knowledge; it leaks away with each exhale.

So this is the season of skeletons and bare branches
fleshless fingers pointing the way. Yes, I will
follow the fading candles down an avenue
of jack o’lantern skulls. In time. In time,

for now I am held fast by the fragrance
(as delicate as a cobweb across my face)
of tiny pale tea roses, the last of summer.