By Marge Piercy November doubles down Wind pries at the walls, digs at shingles, strips what leaves remain. It’s a rowdy day, blown birds crowding the feeders. Everybody’s hungry now. I can feel a killing frost oozing down from Canada. I can smell decay. Frost has already shriveled the tenderest flowers. Hardy veggies soldier on. It’s the anteroom to winter when snow is promised but doesn’t yet arrive. At Dawn, Surprise Last night while we slept and the cats played and danced the crisp moonlight turned to snow. In the morning a frosting, melted before breakfast except for the gardens where like a white wooly sweater full of ragged holes it lies. The first snow is a marker. Fall’s done. We’re in for it now, dark in midafternoon, gardens barren except for what waits under the soil for spring. Squirrels snooze, wake on bright days; chipmunks pass months in their burrows. Trees are all architecture. Every awake body driven by hunger hunts, is hunted. Lights poke small holes in the night. We press out bodies together kindling warmth while the great horned owl ponders mating her heavy wings silent, swift.
Marge Piercy’s new book, ON THE WAY OUT, TURN OFF THE LIGHT will be published by Knopf next September.