The raccoons ravaged the corn and stomped the tomatoes. Purslane and wood sorrel have taken over the gravel walkways. I don’t believe in grassy yards (at least not in the woods, and not many other places either). I live in the woods so we have banks of New York ferns, rhododendrons, mountain laurel, winter berry, witch hazel and a tiny little vegetable and cutting garden which we share with the local rodents.

It’s the last day of August. The light is dimming, the days are shorter, the evenings are cooler, and sometimes I have to close the windows. That ticks me off. I’m not ready for this. I never am. And as if to add insult to injury, the geese are starting to complain.

So I got out my collapsible weed bag on Friday and Saturday and started around the perimeter of the house pulling up weeds, clearing the paths, pulling up the ruined corn and tomatoes. (Tomatoes in pots next year – we’ll see how that works. It’s worked before.) The phlox seems cheery enough. The marigolds are indefatigable. The geraniums are lush and valiant. I am, however, Augusted.

Things will continue to deteriorate until November when, finally so tired of it all, the leaves give up and let go. However, then light returns a bit, at least in the kitchen, and we start holiday planning. But until then there is this lingering despair, this Augusted – ness, which haunts the soul. It’s the end of the growing season, such as it was. The return of the yellow school buses. The flight of geese. The chill. The closing of the windows. The sense of decline.

Another poem. A prose poem:

BIRTHDAY

An odd time for Doctor Hogle to take a coffee break. I was born. Some Venetian gondolier guided my cranial boat down the canal crooning, poling us along beneath the Bridge of Sighs. The doge and marchesa waved silken squares from the ducal palace. One had a little monkey dressed in a bonnet and gown. Poe sat off to the side writing “The Assignation.” Quilted jesters danced down the cobbled alleys. Behind their black and yellow masks, they were weeping. Cafés full. Pigeons, like putti, flew overhead, one dipping its wing. Somewhere a Vivaldi piece, spirited but tragic. Mandolin, violin, Champagne poured, pastries served. Flowers bloomed their last. (It was September.) I emerged the other side, wondering; the smell of coffee acrid, tense-making, never pleased me, never satisfied. I drink tea.

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