September pulls summer down like a shade, always smells like notebooks of paper, dew rising as the ground heats up early mornings, that same cold fog.
Ghost feet tiptoe between veils. Pumpkins wink at stars. And autumn tricks us again into loving October, then delivers us to miserable winter.
And every year, somehow, we’re always surprised. Traitor.
Once again, we’ll arrive as faceless passengers blurring into winter, silent as rails. Remember that September
night we stood on Jenn’s balcony, all of us sophomores, laughing as she dropped a vase on the street below because she
forgot what breaking glass sounded like, she said. Her hair, dyed, was always a ridiculous red, like flames.
Her eyes, a seafoam green. She was messy, like all of us and drunk, most nights, us girl-artists away at college,
so us girls, we did things like breaking glass and our own hearts, too, just to hear the sound--loving the wrong guy or the right one at the wrong time.
Time. That’s what we did with it
sometimes we picked flowers just to set them on fire. Like that night
our buddy Rusty said all he remembered of his father was coke bottles and Jack. Then Sam said
all I remember of my dad are coke bottles and Beam. Somebody laughed and I said
I’ll probably lose my gloves this winter and not find them again until spring. Like always and not cover my hands at all until then.
Why do I do that? Still. I’m
so predictable. Even now at 40, every November, I dream of forest-fire-lines cutting
down the black West Virginia mountainside burning how they always burn every windy night, that orange light glow,
flowers crackling in wind, smoke, hot and high, and like him, smoldering
in my dreams.