Peace in Autumn

My world must not be made of brief encounters
along the neat squares of neighborhood lawns
where dogs quaintly squat and shit, and the balding,
fit eater of beet salads and brussels sprouts
laments the game—the loss, the heartbreak,
a kind of precursor for every greeting ahead
of me, all week. It has been months
of agreeable weather, the air growing cooler
even at midday, and the deep gloom
over me seems like abject ingratitude.
Mostly, we are waiting for the dogs to squat,
for the news to come that will startle
the routine, for the death that awakens
old memories and guilt, as if it were sin
to forget how we were made, and my
fear is the thing I hold inside, unspoken
the way magic must be secreted in
small wicker baskets that sit on shelves
smelling of camphor and death—a scent
only noses capable of smelling age, death,
and love can catch; and then the night
comes, the light blurring against my camera
as if the road is covered with rain.

More from Kwame Dawes:

Avoiding the Spirits,” a poem

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