Cedar Lake, Minneapolis, Minnesota

On days like this my mother reclined
in the front yard of our house on Victor,
comfortable in her canvas chair,
supervising my dad as he stoked his fire,
and swept the riotous leaves
into the pyre as higher and higher
the fiery remains danced into the sky.

On this fall day I sit by a cloud-filled lake
among crowds of cattails and ducks.
Bog berries brighten among the sweet decay of leaves.
The shriveled hands of oaks hold to themselves.
They don’t help me arrange my words
as I try to ignite the flames of bygone falls
to stir their ashes for these pages.