the goodbye-ness of autumn

the goodbye-ness of autumn –
that long departure
of soft greens
into drifting golds –
flits sneakily
into the tips of trees
with its quiet reddening
before the freeze

earlier purpling skies
bring the sudden cacophonies
of starling troops
which garrison
in the horse chestnut,
starry and black
in the branches
of a yellow sun

morning walks
become gentler
meditations on dodging
fat spiders hanging
in their webs
which drape the air
between power pole
and pine

and among you walk
a gentle few who pause
with palms against
the bark

to discover if
they might sense
the exact solemn moment
the sap stills

© Sarah Whiteley

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escaping spiders

one by one the moths
find their way into the building,
lose themselves in high corners
and dingy stairwells

cupping my hands I
usher what few I can off
the fire escape, blowing them
to whatever dusty fate is theirs

but more often find stilled
wings, unmoving corpses along
the baseboards beneath
the hallway lights

I think they know there’s
no moon here, but flock
to false incandescence for scant
safety in a poor substitute

but how else
does one escape the spiders?

© Sarah Whiteley