In the autumn garden,
I chop away dead yucca spires,
their white bell blossoms distant
in memory. My fingers comb ivy
and vinca for fallen leaves that crumble
in my hands. I think of crimes
against my loved ones, count my sins,
pull at spider webs and chickweed,
stubborn at the root.

I make my piles, gather the detritus
of trees into bags set against the curb.
I sweep the sidewalk, edge a trowel’s
blade beneath a hardy clutch of clover.
Even in drought, the barely living cling
like runners on a fencepost, adamant.
My roses, staked and tied to the wire mesh,
wilt on the stalk, feebly pink. Still,
honeysuckle persists, fragrant, wild,
and berries will ripen in the winter to come.