by Steven Stark and dedicated to G.A. Compton
The singed embers of the pear tree flicker red as Rahab's rope.
Yet no trumpets, but whispering winds (no less mighty), announce this great fall.
The sweetgum sage waves his wand, weaving wisdom into colored stars.
Yet the Magi must travel, and Diogenes must set down his cloak.
The youthful maple, like young Achilles in the lust of battle, is mortally wounded.
But he laughs and holds high his banner stained with sunset blood.
The pistache contemplates her colors, golden orange and scarlet spice, knowing that the Queen of Sheba in all her glory was not arrayed as one of these.
The stoic elm fades, resigning his kind, quiet shade with one last gift -
-the graceful flaxen fall of his summer substitution, when Apollo was appeased and our frail faces were cooled.
The great-hearted ash is weeping honeyed tears.
And a heart burns, crimson and contrite, as the wrinkles fall deeper around autumn eyes.