The bay’s inviting, sunny ripple lines
waver over the sand, but it’s too cold
to swim. The bank beaver, impervious,
plows around the point like a dreadnought
securing a perimeter. A teacup-
sized snapping turtle pokes her chisel nose
cautiously up into the cooling air.
Most birds have gone: insect trills,
wind in leaves, faint calls of southbound geese,
the high, almost unnoticeably growing
ringing in your head….this last
the surest sign of a winter coming
from which there is no flying.
You are not much comforted that one life stops
to continue a while, somehow, in others.
You take off your shoes and socks and wade in the cold water.
September 30, 2004