A Poem for Fall

County Road 240


Like farmers in red flannel shirts,

sweet gum trees chat in fencerows

beside the winding county road.

Full of stories from the struggles of summer,

they lean against the dusty forest,

their pockets heavy with harvest.

Jostled by gusts of November’s insistence,

they practice tossing prickly fruit

into wheat-colored baskets

of waist-high ragweed and Johnson grass.

When a cold blast bears down

like a locomotive, the woods shake out

blankets of live oak leaves

in preparation for company

and all heads turn to meet the arrival

of the mail order bride:

a blue norther all the way from Canada,

a dry blow sure to stir up a ruckus

as it wraps the last stray lint of autumn

around a line of splintered cedar posts,

clears the evening sky like a broom

and sends stray dogs and husbands

home for supper.

Anne McCrady, from Letting Myself In

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