It is youth that understands old age
and your repulsion is but a projection
an image of the loathing you obtain.
I’ve seen the fall come in and think I shall
follow each leaf that winds about the house
to where you stutter, the end of the tether
where grace walks through the bridal foliage
and no one could mistake you for another.
After that, they are only leaves to burn.
And when the flowers burst upon the rain
the roofs shall keep their solemn gentle witness
far from the young men who travel far
to fill their noses with the autumn air.
Daybreak is decent as awakening.
And love is gentle, though he is no scholar.
What if I filled my notebook with his words
sketched suddenly with no least hesitation
would she return to him when it came fall
or would she sink into a bitter winter
not even counting the blossoms that are gone.
How many times the autumn rain recurs
to wind about the river in the evening
or fall like one great ocean in the dawn.
No matter, he has had enough of her
and leaves his youth in hope of something better.
A drop expresses all the flooding water,
the wind instills the trees with sentiment,
and no one, no one can reverse the patter
of the darkness that’s enclosed within.
It stares across the city in the dawn
and cannot wake these shrouds of memory.
Ben Mazer’s two new poetry collections are Poems (The Pen & Anvil Press) and January 2008 (Dark Sky Books). He is the editor of Selected Poems of Frederick Goddard Tuckerman (Harvard University Press) and Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005 by Landis Everson (Graywolf Press).