Early morning: someone putting a kettle on the stove,
cracking an egg on the skillet’s rim; lid of the trash
can opening and falling back on itself to receive the cast-
off shell. Somewhere in the house, steam rising around
a body standing under the warm spray. Yesterday, we sat
around the table to eat and give thanks, slipping
sticks of cinnamon and woody stars of anise into the wine.
This time of year, past a certain hour, the world
darkens rapidly, enclosing each flame-like tongue lightly
tethered to the branch. Any day now, all of them will lie
in heaps, carpeting the ground. Russet and brass, lichen’s
bitter yellow: they are most achingly beautiful before they go.
Even the sleek white egret that stood still at the water’s edge
for hours unlocks its one folded leg; stretches, then flies away.