Why it boils over without apology. Why
lawns lining every home erupt
in the night, fevered by some unnamable sorrow.
Why the sky hides so often, a blister
I’ve fingered since childhood.
When it uses words like mercy
and regret, I lose myself in the backyard
the way a match loses its grip on the dark.
Here, between two pines, I might hear
what was once the gossip of sheets
my mother snapped against a line,
father’s shirts pinned shoulder
to shoulder, collars flared, buttons with nothing
to clutch. I think of the crickets who will later spark
the air with their duplicitous refrain,
how I will follow them, barefoot,
moss dusting my heels. And for what?
Tell me that if I look back now,
I won’t see how each grief solders us
to the next: a house clapped shut,
gagged, leaning into its hollowed bones.
Leaves, battered by wind, seized
between the tines of an abandoned rake.
Their ceaseless falling. How they wait
and wait to become tinder, then smoke,
then ash. How I cannot change it.
[Michael Boccardo, 'What No One Told Me about Autumn', from Best New Poets 2013]