Don Welch

October

From In the Fields’ Hands. 1998.

It is, but isn’t pastoral, two women
walking the prairie among the big bluestem
and dropseed grasses, among the bronze
and russets of fall, the sky a light blue,

a delicate ache, a subtle exclamation
of color, and the woman walking together
remembering what? The rose gentians
of spring? The light combed by the grasses?

Their daughters now grown? Perhaps
the lissomeness of their daughters,
their laughter, and their small brown arms
which once waved through these fields?

Wild shooting stars of daughters, butterflies
among the milkweed, now far away
in the fluorescence of basements, shopping
for bargains, flawed seconds, markdowns—

In the fall light the women walking together
look down. All around them is autumn,
the dropseed burning with orange,
the white sage ringing them with crowns.

Used with the permission of Don Welch