Two Poems

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.


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