Each year I pull ‘round the corner of summer
Running on empty
And somehow it tops off my tank.
It works every year, so far…
Thanks mom and dad for my birth on these days
Although I’m not sure that’s what you had in mind
In the back seat of the Plymouth that New Year’s eve
When I was conceived.
Or when you bought me a little two-wheeler
With those outrigger training wheels on back
(That never really did anything)
I was launched down a bumpy, rocky driveway
(Aren’t we all?)
And have the scars on my aged knees
To prove, as tickets punched that
I took that journey.
Men sometimes play baseball late into October
By great lakes,
If (and when) the wind blows from the cold creeping north
Snow may just fly along with the balls in the outfields
Still summer green
Even the umpires know this is cheating.
In maple lined backyards
Slumping piles of leaves are secretly moldering
Even before the rake is in the shed,
Only the worms are coolly pleased,
And the pumpkin on the stoop
Is destined to burst into that curious
Probable puddle of slime,
Embarrassed by its unfortunate smell.
We often cut short its time
By allowing children to gouge eyes and devil’s grins
Which spews its belly of goop and seeds.
It’s the rank ripeness of slumping gardens
And childhood adventures,
With only the tease of memory and time,
That fuel us into these darkening days.