"Late Autumn" by Joan Colby

Joan Colby

Joan Colby

Joan Colby is the author of seven published books including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book, etc. She has published poems in many journals including Poetry, Atlanta Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, The New York Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Epoch, etc. She is the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards (one in 2008) and an IAC Literary Fellowship. She received honorable mention in the 2008 James Hearst Poetry Contest—North American Review and the 2009 Editor's Choice Contest—Margie, and was a finalist in the 2007 GSU (now New South) Poetry Contest, 2009 Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize, 2010 James Hearst Poetry Contest and Ernest J. Poetry Prize.

Late Autumn

My shoes shuffle decks
Of yellow leaves. One maple blazes still
In fiery shift. Bronzing oaks miser
What they can; stripped hickories gird the drive
Like shaggy warriors.

The horses drowse
Along the grey board fence
Waiting for rain. A grey sky balloons
With promise of loss, loss.
Last leaves
Will fall by morning,
Wet mass of bright rubbish
A million hands
Stomped into earth or bonfired
In small forgettable paragraphs

An army of cornstalks continues
Its long siege.
The orange and white cat
On the barn roof gazes
Over distance rolling on distance
To the treeline that pastes the edge
Of the world to the sky.

One fly buzzes in a barn window
Time to die. Time to die.

Imminence of the rain on yellow leaves,
Bloodied sumac, smoke spiraling
rom the burning pit by the creekbed.

Far off, stripping winds
Scour bleached skies to indifference.
The bone of winter.