The visiting lovers have left the long shores,
carrying sweetness in palms of their hands,
promises of return wrapped about them
in a bright scarf of loose knots,
memories planted in their hearts.
Their words are conspiratorial whispers
as they look back, then move toward ordinary life.
Birds are flocking, straying less often;
once the berries are over they will go, too.
The leaves have begun to rattle, pine needles to flee and fall.
The air is spiked with foretelling scents.
Sitting cross-legged in fields
no longer summered green, my sight
fills with that rocky shore, fresh water
churning chilled depths that will turn
my fingers blue if I linger until first snow.
But here is true north, a lifetime from
mountains where I now live, and farther from the sea.
In September light, jewel blue and amber,
the world is seasoned and richer.
My hair whips about, shrouds my eyes.
I know that leaves still cascade
down my shoulders, grazing my face,
but those constant waves raking the stones–
that once stayed my cries,
called forth my singing–
and those steadfast trees afire in northern palettes–
these will follow me into the rain-laced nights