This poem would be called ‘November’, if that weren’t cliche - Sylvia Foster

My mom is burning leaves and there is ink drying.

The smoke is white this morning, and doesn’t stray from its column. Its smell is slightly out of reach.

Instead I smell dead leaves, thousands of them, all a uniform rust. They smell like pre-school, by which I probably just mean dirt, and the very beginning of decay.


The neighbor is behind the evergreen trees we planted decades ago. Their radio is smothered by the small dog’s growls.

I remember their dog, and I remember mine, dozing by this chair’s legs. I remember him falling the other day, dancing a clumsy waltz until he met the ground. I remember the rustle as his body rolled.

I remember the neighbor’s laugh.

I remember remembering my sister’s shrunken voice, weak, yet all crescendo, as I watched him struggle to stand. Mom, something’s wrong with Dad. I remember the feeling of preemptive loss as my dog stumbled once more. I remember gliding to meet him, coaxing him inside.


The smoke has fully met me now. It is more acrid than I expected.

An acorn pummels the metal roof, and I remember preparing to watch someone I love die.

 

Sylvia Foster is a redheaded twenty-something living in the southern United States. She hopes to write poetry that speaks to a universal human experience and makes people reconsider poetry as a visual art. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry at the University of Arkansas.

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