So unexpected to come upon it as we followed the swerving waxwings, their commotion in the air our umbrellas curtained:
the gold gingko —double trunk rising from its yellow leavings— paving the sidewalk with real luster, cement softer under the mash of ochre leaves along the gutters. Shine of rain over everything.
In the park, vine maples hold on to some crimson tatters above the banks where the last salmon fight their way home in the stream bed the neighbors made good again.
In these broken days— half the nation whipsawed in grief at what we will become—the sum of Autumn’s rubric is light and color in the trees, flash of silver fins in the creek,
and late bees in the penstemon still gathering pollen for the hive.
Alicia Hokanson, retired from 40 years of teaching, now devotes her time to reading, writing, and political activism in Seattle and on Waldron Island, Washington. Her first collection of poems, Mapping the Distance, was selected by Carolyn Kizer for the King County Arts Commission publication prize. Two chapbooks from Brooding Heron Press are Insistent in the Skin and Phosphorous. She was named “River of Words” Poetry Teacher of the Year in 2003.