November airs the trees out of their leaves,
they end up crispy brown barely hanging on,
or as a brown carpet blown here and there
by the suddenly rude autumn wind.
Little stories end in this dire season,
or begin, just like any other time of year.
Take the small charred perfect aspen leaf
that drifted into our driveway
from forty miles away, down the mountain
on the winds of the Los Conchas fire.
Later, the dog we adopted, beautiful, wild
young Ridgeback, survived the fire as well,
escaping on charred paws to end up here,
to tame himself at our safe house.
Take each life that ended this season,
friends and family, and the intricacies
that twine together in eulogy and memory:
summer camps with cousins, Moonie wings
of take offs and touch downs. Those who survive
embrace the photos, and the smallest sequence
of words that bring everything back.
Take the threats to the broccoli, Brussels sprouts,
corn, and in the early spring, the strawberries,
all diminished by squirrels, or aphids and grasshoppers.
We harvested anyway. In December we are eating tomatoes
ripened in three weeks of yesterday’s news.
Now, on the easel a new painting of the heirloom
varieties that appeared from green to ripe like magic.
“Moonie” is a type of small airplane, like a Cessna.
Michelle Holland lives and writes in Chimayo, New Mexico. Her books include the New Mexico Book Award winning collection, The Sound a Raven Makes, Tres Chicas Press 2007; and Chaos Theory, Sin Fronteras Press, 2009.