The cold blows north and the city falls
into the cycles of a leafless world.
It feeds off the brick, licks the shoes,
tastes the cotton of jackets,
gnaws hands clutching the last warmth
of summer close to their heart,
cuddling its last embers,
huddling to the next soul
with faint fires when it goes out.
Dogs on the leash paw the air
delighting in distinguishing
the smells of life and death all around.
Autumn is their rooting season,
their time to sniff for the rat
hidden in the pre-collection trash,
to proudly drop the last migrating Warbler
wounded by the reflection of sun on glass,
at their masters feet in the remaining
scent of the Great Wolf Hunt.
With each gust their master’s minds go south
to thoughts of changeless sunshine,
snowbirds migrating in caravans
to The Villages filled with plantation magnolias
scarred with the memories of rope swings
and before that, feet swaying in the dirt,
never mindful that it was the African eye
who first caught the non-reflective sun
and bleached skin, the first shudder of cold.
The taste of cold on fingers and faces
etches their tundra souls
and in the rubbing of hands,
the warm breath of air in palms,
they almost feel the sun again.
They sense something invigorating,
thrilling in feeling the right amount of cold,
the wind howling in the cave of their hearts.