Burning Leaves

Daniel Fitzpatrick

All October the tall grass
bent northward, uphill,
its ochreous pallor eliding the moonlight
as sun swelled and burst in the thinning oaks.

Then you walked through our Elysium,
your horned feet softened on the quartz,
and as you passed into a shadeless place,
the juncoes (snowbirds, you said)
scattered your ashes.

We’ll spend the winter burning leaves,
raking black cautery across the packed hill.
Otherwise the grass will drown
and the deer will ghost to livelier woods.