Summer/Fall 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 1997 |

Augury

In gray, drizzling, leaf-collecting weather, his sweater, starred with burrs and bits of bark, visibly sags (the oiled weave holding the fog in chains so the wearer is actually wearing rain) and gives off into the air an autumn stink recognizable anywhere, dog-befriended paste of clay and tree debris, upended stew of dog-strewn coffee grounds and peels, sink hole of all fall slops and aromatics, October. The sky, and now the child, grows sober under the weight of all their reckonings of what the fall portends. Inside now, shrugging off his sodden clothes, he suddenly knows what the forked, serrated, pointed leaves protect— that cache of berries reddening in the dim— not bird-death, or squirrels, but him, the boy himself, scratched by the edge of what he mustn't enter, the unreal thicket that's really here in his domain, conjuring winter.

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