Winter in September

In this mountain desert
Winter starts in September—
The air at night begins
To bite. I am up late
Out in your studio shed,
The kids both cold asleep.
The air still tastes of smoke
But now the stars are seen;
Somewhere I have found
A glass of whisky. “You walk
Toward the station,” sings Cale,
“I walk toward the bus.”
Six months past, of course
I think of you—I brought you
Here, I clicked this link
On Zillow—and the lights
Of the ambulance, going down
The long driveway as you left.
And left us how? Not quite
In ruin. True, my cucumbers,
Madly and carelessly sown,
Choked our son’s strawberries,
Much as he had predicted.
There is disorder in the sunroom,
And certain forms to fill out,
And horses have eaten the apples, and
The hot tub, like Lowell’s aquarium,
Is dry. But who cares—when
I am doing better than ever
In my new media career?
I know tons of important people!
You can’t imagine who I met, and
Check out what drops this month!
Log into the joint account—
You’ll see our revenues are strong…
You’re laughing, because you know
That mix of wreck and glory
Once tempered by your breath,
Set loose on a summer stray.
April’s storms flogged us
With green rain; June’s roads
Grew hot white blooms;
August left them dust and flame.
The plane without its navigator,
Summer without plan or balance,
Purgatory without parole—
Now the air has regained
Its tooth; the ash-leaf trembles
And yellows in the edge; you
Will not be watching it snow.
Winter is a time for purpose,
For surrender of all ecstasies,
For cold, determined repair
And maintenance of properties.