It appears again without notice. Sneaking out
from behind a laundry line of frayed shirts.
Now, a presence. The less I've joked about,
that starves the bones. Mid-October. I still say
I'm not ready for color. Yet it comes in cries,
my own, approaching a stand of yellow trees,
blazing the triangle parting three streets.
I'm going nowhere I'm sure of. Today,
steady rain gets under the skin,
a chill soaks in. By the door the leaves
of Impatiens in pots seem to have shrunk, or
simply become less numerous.
The woman who shampoos my afternoon hair
asks how I'm doing. I'm not getting younger, I say.
She laughs so hard it nearly feels like despair,
though it's merely immutable.
-- Gayle Reed Carroll
Carroll, of Mount Lebanon, is a retired art teacher from the Clairton, Pa., schools. Her poems have appeared in several small literary magazines, including The Comstock Review, The Pittsburgh Quarterly and Poetpourri. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Tuesday at 7 p.m. on independent radio, WYEP 91.3 FM.