October Afternoon, Witness’s Account

by Gaylord Brewer


At the creek earlier, dog Lucy smiling,
we flushed a hawk from shadows,
wings flashing white and auburn behind the tree line.

In my soft chair I read the day’s news,
the sad and violent stories,
ate without apology the last slice of strawberry cake.

The storm that floods and splinters the coast
delivers to us a cooling wind, relief
from unseasonal heat, but not the rain we need.

The last hummingbird has departed, possibly
yesterday, possibly the day before,
left its globe of nectar to implacable wasps.

Soon–though granted, this is speculation–
the house will fill with the aromas of lamb stew,
a browning loaf of rosemary bread.

Tomorrow is Lucy’s birthday, my lovely girl
an impossible eight years, and, perhaps,
we will drive to the battlefield,

pursue a path among the limestone outcroppings
where their cannons could not
advance. Perhaps. Everything else,

however–this clear autumn light,
the shortening hours, my sentry heart still at work—
I’ll swear to it all, every last word.

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