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Poinsettias

October 13, 2015

A white sky is at its heaviest in November; under it, two old sisters share the sidewalk where

once they felt narrower hips reach over crack, over slope. This year, they use it to retrace,

talk, familiarize grief with thief as if initiating the actor to the role

of red fall leaves, from the enflamed cul-de-sac Sweetgum,

collected to embellish the dinner table.

As kids, they knew those stabs of pleasure

preceded empty branches,

which is why the pleasure,

and why the empty.

Just as quick as crunchy leaves are swept into the trash, the white poinsettias arrive wrapped in holiday foil.

But this ugly decoration is unrelated to how and when winter should abbreviate autumn, according to them;

daytime shortening against their consent, and the sisters accept they are not in charge of the changes,

like an act curtain descending, they kept looking for the operator. Still, looking.

Though upon coming home, the table is suppressed by a fresh collection –

leave-taking, the endings of sweetness and expiration of grief,

often a more problematical scene change for an older crowd

who clutch tightly at everything – purses, railings,

the hand of whoever can be taken away,

even at their own pain, even

the poinsettias.

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