Octobering by Sharon Kennedy-Nolle

Leaves, fall-fevered, stick like postage stamps
licked on angry, unsent mail.
The few emptying trees
clack and prod like knitting needles,
held by tattling mothers,
their hands full
with dish-washing, vacuum-pushing, tucking-in,
the hamper-dryer do,
generating all that warmington light
that dangles off of every October night.

But oh, Mother, I remember
you mined in a bedroom;
listening for the occasional wearied moan
of other fathers’ cars returning home.
Their passing lights floodlit the walls
as you sat in darkness at the window,
elbowed up to the pane,
like a porched pumpkin.
A rayon curtain veiling the vigil,
of every six o’clock.

Now you are in another bedroom, at Stage 4,
with the stock props of TV, IV.
All you possess, now down
to dentures and glasses, baggied.
These windows are too high
to see how the big green leaves hover,
but the season is off. Nurses pill and pass.
No more chores to be done,
but the watching and waiting,
the watching and waiting,
Octobering otherwise,
in the hardback dark and chair,

Who else stops?
Who sits with you?




A graduate of Vassar College, Sharon Kennedy-Nolle holds an MFA and doctoral degree from the University of Iowa. She attended the Sarah Lawrence Summer Writing Institute for several years.



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