Utterances of the October Aside

Jennifer Soong

Today I feel better. Again I see the trees.
I call my mother, attend the morning lectures.
Spot the discarded pathways and
pass them by. The corpses of leaves everywhere say hello.
                    Still, is anything lonelier than
a feeling? Or the clear wiring of tubular store-signs
when the people awake?
The awfulness of last weekend’s brunch, poached news
for the dogs: I asked about Kate—What was it
she said about C? Always C, but
we’re safe for now. The dead and ex-
communicated won’t arrive for a while, their dirty reminder.

On drooped-stretched wires, the pigeons
squat like notes on the trans-New-England stave—
Whose memos get mixed up in there?
The cardinal drafts are disinterested. 
They play double-dutch, conspire with the storm.
The night never prepares me in time either. It slides under
always as I start to settle—though Yesterday Part II
is a poor sequel and I’d rather tomorrow show up
like it does: hung-over.

To the store I walk coaxed with the breeze and
against it on the way back.
I’m still moving through. Nowhere in mind
but probably late. It’s fall and I’ve
left my batteries at home, along with Page 75
of a vulnerable but sweet Frank and Jane. I hope they don’t get
too blown away, lose their place next to
what blue-looped milk is left paddling in the soured bowl.
         I go by the schoolyard where all the mothers
are cuckoo. How the children still cry, weep
without having to be asked—Oh,
how many selves have they yet to get through? Or are we born
with a set number of losses, twisting off Russian dolls until we break even
our share?

There are places besides Mill Street, Massachusetts.
There are places besides here. 
Dear Mother, will you pay the fare? For I’ve dreamt already
of the other country, the one where I am
Woman of the Pomegranate Farm, have all those
Chinese lantern fruits fall, cover me blushing.
Would I wear stained rivulets on my chapped, winter-
lips? I might be kissy-faced.
I would speak no misery.
                        But here’s a corner I recognize—sunlight
strikes again through my neighbor’s yard. Who’s to say it’s trespass
when the sun’s entered and left the gate open?
I behead the roses until they stink of love.
With some clothespins I hang them like bats in the closet. 
They too must learn to get drunk with the ancient Styx.