Every maple leaf stiffens to an open hand
of do you have my keys? Against a cloud,
the comma of a crow. In a bare tree,
the semicolon of two crows.
It snowed last night then melted
by sunrise, but notice how the ground
is lower, more within itself,
flannel-wrapped and quiet.
O November. Muss up my hair
like a squirrel in the road.
Fill my lungs with juniper needles
and the brown slush at the curb.
Forgive me, for I have stapled my name
to the trunk of a lover on the seasonless coast
of California. She sends blank postcards,
smackbright photos of Nob Hill
or the hot guts of Sonoma, orioles
and slack-skinned pink condors.
Toss them with coupons against a chain-link fence.
Let me not mistake that gloss
for your first thin layers of ice.
A frozen pond alit with a flock of crows
is the night sky’s negative
and more believable.