Sunday Poem

Autumn Unreadiness
Jim Crenner

Fifty swallows flocked along the wires
twitter frantically about the impending
journey south. On the lawn below,

a scattering of robins, glassy-eyed
from the summer's regimen of sex
and parenting, stagger about uncertainly,

heads cocked as if to keep one eye
on the sky and the other ear to the ground,
for that extra earthworm that could mean

the difference between making it across
the Rio Grande or not. Woolly-bear
caterpillars hump along doggedly,

wasps burrow into the earth, squirrels
hustle from larder to larder to larder—
everything in nature gripped by the urge

to make ready for the massive seasonal
die-off drawing near. Everything, that is,
but me. If ever found, the fieldnotes

of my Observer from Deneb will read
somewhat as follows: “The creature, now
concluding his sixty-ninth orbit of the star

he calls the Sun, evinces no awareness
that the coming winter prefigures his own
end. Today, as usual, he sits and stares

at either nothing, or the sheer passing
of this blue (quite lovely, I must say)
September afternoon on earth. He shows
no inclination to put his life in order, as if
he has no clue that he will soon cease to be.
Or maybe knows it only too well.”