First Frost in the Suburbs
The marigolds' barn-color chips and fades.
Their shrivelled buds hang down, knots of dried wood.
A slate squirrel, thin in the wrong season, drags
its twine tail like a spent fuse. Stacks
of trees smoke with the flesh of leaves.
The petunias' popped-balloon skin flaps empty sleeves.
The frozen lawns - square fields of captured hay;
a mutt slinks across them like a practiced refugee.
Now every chalky nimbus holds its bank
of snow. Cold bands of sparrows walk the plank
of sky. A small orchestra of birds warms up at dawn-
frantic and lyric as Auschwitz's musicians.
-- Jennifer Rose