The fall rain lets itself down,
crackling through the poplar trees,
leaves now glazed by the vermilion sun,
a vermilion slit at the edge of dusk.
It is October, it is
a vermilion October,
and dark birds nestle
into the embers of the leaves.
He stands, staring out the door,
his gaze having gone
through the color of the trees,
through dark birds and beyond them,
to more trees, and the rain,
and the bowl rim of evening easing down.
It is as though
one might discover in the rain,
or among these birds, or these leaves,
the alchemized autumn of a truer lead—
but finds little more than eighty percent
of some fundamental question. The rest—
the twenty percent of October—
still struggles to be said.
Said amid these ordinary things
long-held in sense stilled:
the falling rain, the rain-lacquered leaves,
the flocking birds in the embers of the trees.