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Marianne Poloskey



It is fall, and everything
I counted on has been cancelled.
The trees, reduced to begging,
paint shadows of stripes.
All winter they will stand
in line like refugees
waiting for clothes.
Behind the iron will of the fence,
the garden looks resigned.
Squirrels have suspended their play
and dig for food, cats seem
less sure where they are going.

The maple tree is incomplete
as an empty vase on a table.
One stray leaf drifts toward me,
settles by my feet—
yellow and red, with green veins—
the kind of leaf I might have sent
my mother in a letter.
Whom would I astonish now?
I bend down anyway, but the wind
brushes it aside like a thought.
Today nothing is as it used to be.
Nothing moves in a straight line.


Marianne Poloskey's poetry has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Connecticut Review, Louisiana Literature, Paterson Literary Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and War, Literature & the Arts, among others. Her book, Climbing the Shadows, was published in 2001 by Chi Chi Press.
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