October, and the temperature falls


The young women are gone from the pools

and where do they go but into libraries

and taverns and college dorms leaving us

to rake leaves and pick up trash,

we who once swore not to permit changes

in ourselves: older looking now,

spots on our arms


The heads of trees flame orange and amber,

summer burning itself out; tiny birds disappear

as ashes in the sky above high rises


I hear the crackling of knees,

heavy breathing on uphill paths

Can’t drive as well at night,

have good old friends with minds adrift

or moved to tiny condos in Florida

to chase the bouncing ball

of well-worn jingles


Regulars at the park know our faces but not us

Inevitable that we should return to anonymity,

our one time wish, and sorry for it now


We mavericks worked hard at it, didn’t we?

Tried to change the world

with beads and toke and tie dyes

but the world kept wanting to resist

our dreams for better lives that

tumble onward and out of our grip


“Such a deal,” the corner grocer loved to say,

“what next?” and the next thing, and the next,

so brutally fast that time unwinds without us



Our young trip away in other directions,

sip candied coffee and text complaints

to a cloud


And the little girl from down the street

has long forgotten it was a tree and I

who swung the rope she skipped beyond


Suddenly empowered as new manager

of the last of the upscale shoe stores

she’s happy to smirk and wisecrack

that my beloved desert boots remind her

of the sad old dogs her grandpa wore

in black and white photos of the ’60’s